Dem field clearing for Sen. Specter

Democrat Joe Torsella is exiting the race for Pennsylvania’s Senate seat, stepping aside for newly Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.) and clearing the primary field -- for the moment, at least.

Torsella, a former deputy mayor of Philadelphia and head of the National Constitution Center, was the only major Democrat in the race until Specter switched parties last month. He raised a very   respectable $600,000 in the first quarter and vowed to stay in the race after Specter switched.


On Thursday, though, Torsella said in a video that he will no longer be a candidate.

“Now that the dust has settled, it’s clear to me that the kind of campaign that this would become is not the kind of campaign you or I signed up for,” Torsella said. “It will probably be negative, personal and more about Sen. Specter’s past than about our common future.”

Attention will now turn to Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.), who has continued to make noise about Specter’s party switch and a possible primary.

Since the switch, Democratic leaders in Washington, including President Obama, have announced their support for Specter.

“When I heard about Sen. Specter’s switch, I was moved towards the decision to make the run,” Sestak recently told the Philadelphia Bulletin. “I was disappointed in the Washington, D.C. political establishment.”

Despite the establishment support, Specter’s switch has been accompanied by myriad disagreements with his new colleagues, including whether he would maintain his seniority and whom he wants to win Minnesota’s Senate race (he said he wanted Republican Norm   
Coleman to win).

Torsella said he will return the contributions he’s received for his campaign. He also said he’s been offered nothing in exchange for his exit from the race.