May 27th, 2009
06:04 PM ET
5 years ago

Democratic congressman to challenge Specter

Sestak has informed supporters he plans to run for Senate.
Sestak has informed supporters he plans to run for Senate.

(CNN) -- Pennsylvania Rep. Joe Sestak has informed supporters he plans to challenge Sen. Arlen Specter in the Democratic primary, a spokesman for the congressman tells CNN.

Jonathon Dworkin, Sestak's communications director, confirmed the authenticity of a handwritten letter from Sestak - first posted on the Web site Talking Points Memo - to a supporter in which the congressman states, "I intend to run for the U.S. Senate."

Dworkin also confirms quotes from Sestak's sister to TPM stating, "He intends to get in the race,..."In the not too distant future, he will sit down with his wife and daughter to make the final decision."

Sestak’s decision to challenge Specter, who recently switched his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat, puts the congressman at odds with Democratic congressional leaders and President Obama. The president and the congressional leaders have endorsed Specter for re-election in 2010.

Sestak will appear on CNN's The Situation Room to discuss the race at 6:45 p.m. EST.

Text of the letter:

"I am writing you as especially dear supporters to let you know I intend to run for the U.S. Senate...my candidacy's credibility will have much to do with my fundraising success by the 30 June FEC filing deadline at the end of this quarter. Would you help me bring the change for the future we Pennsylvanians need[?]"

Filed under: Joe Sestak
soundoff (71 Responses)
  1. Steve in PA

    Fabulous! This is great news!
    Go Joe!

    May 27, 2009 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  2. Peter

    I think Specter is better, but my opinion won't decide the election..

    May 27, 2009 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  3. Tulsa

    Go for it dude. That's what elections are all about. I encourage anyone who wants to do public service to "just do it" either by elected office, volunteerism or political activism.
    It's what we're about as Americans.

    May 27, 2009 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  4. rachel

    Good run!!! wonder what obama will do to try and shut you up, now that he wants or apparently promised specter he could run as a democrat unopposed.

    May 27, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  5. Dawn

    Here we go again, who to vote for, since he would be my Senator.

    May 27, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  6. Sarah

    Good! let a real Democrat run!

    May 27, 2009 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  7. SLM

    Don't know this guy, but hope he wins over that two timing Specter. Democrats deserve a real democrat, not a self serving phony.

    May 27, 2009 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  8. Reformed Republican

    GREAT!
    It's time for that rich, dusty old white guy to move over and let the "new" blood into the Senate. At least we know Sestak is a true democrat not just one of convenience.
    Besides, Sestak is a really, really smart former military guy – The dems need more of them...

    May 27, 2009 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  9. Grrrr-awful-o

    Bye bye, Arlen... (hint: they'll probably pick a real democrat over an ambiguous one)

    May 27, 2009 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  10. Obama - NOPE

    Specter is washed up.

    May 27, 2009 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  11. Voice of Reason

    Anybody notice how much this guy looks like John Kerry? I think they cloned him...

    May 27, 2009 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  12. fella from chicago

    Hope you nail that self-serving,self-centered son-of-a-gun. Man could care less about the people he supposedly serves.

    May 27, 2009 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  13. Veteran for change

    I was hoping Joe Sestak would do this. Good for him. We need a real Democrat to win in Pennsylvania, not one who sold his soul to salvage his political career.

    May 27, 2009 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  14. Walter

    Good, honest political competition never did anyone any harm. I am sure that the people of Pennsylvania will be the winners.

    May 27, 2009 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  15. The Broker.

    The IRA? What is a republic?

    May 27, 2009 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  16. Bill Clinton

    Oh wow, a corrupt incumbent against a corrupt challenger. Stop the presses!!!

    So, Sleestak is going to go up against Sphincter. This will be a battle of epic proportions!

    May 27, 2009 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  17. Becky

    Where do I send my check?

    May 27, 2009 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  18. Alex

    Go Sestak!

    May 27, 2009 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  19. No Incumbents 2010

    This raises the specter of an interesting primary race. Looks like Arlen will face the consequences of not supporting Obama's program. How can voter be so stupid to believe Arlen needs one more term to accomplish his goals? Time to give someone else a chance to serve.

    May 27, 2009 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  20. Jim

    As a PA voter I urge , at this time, for Rep Sestak to cool it . Now is not the time for him to run...he will divide part thus giving the Reps a great chanc in the fall...Pres Obama supports Specter that says it all for me....
    Pa Voter..

    May 27, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  21. Jstein

    If Osama Bin Laden entered the democratic primary against Arlen Specter, I would send a donation and vote for him. Go Sestak.

    May 27, 2009 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  22. Lee Russell

    Joe Sestak was the hardest workers I have ever met. I would vote for him .

    May 27, 2009 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  23. american

    hope Arlen is defeated !!!!!!

    May 27, 2009 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  24. marcus

    if obama is smart, he either steers clear of this race, or backs sestak. specter is dead weight to the democratic party. sestak is new blood. specter really has no money in the bank with obama. obama owes him nothing. specter only switched parties because he expects to lose the republican primary in pennsylvania. sestak is running as a democrat because he agrees with the principles of the party. i really hope obama does NOT blow this one.

    May 27, 2009 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  25. not my president

    Mr. Sestak – I wish you the VERY best of luck! I do hope you win your contest for the Democratic representative... however, you have some powerful enemies: Obama, Biden, Specter, DNC leadership, etc.

    Sad when the entire DNC party wants to ordain the democratic candidate and not give voters a real choice.

    But hey – that's "change you can believe in" ... right?

    May 27, 2009 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
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