May 10th, 2009
03:26 PM ET
14 years ago

Casey weighs in on Dem leaders' support for Specter

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Sen. Casey said the decision to run or not to run belongs to a candidate rather than to a political party's leadership."]

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Pennsylvania’s junior Sen. Bob Casey appeared to open the door Sunday for a possible challenger to Arlen Specter, the state’s senior senator and a newly-minted Democrat.

Casey seemed to part ways with his party’s leadership when asked by CNN’s John King whether Democratic Party leaders - including President Obama, Vice President Biden, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell - should be making public pledges of support to Specter in an apparent effort to dissuade any would-be primary challengers to the former Republican.

“I don’t think anyone in our party should ever dictate to a candidate,” Casey said on State of the Union. “That’s really up to that candidate, to run or not run,” Casey, a longtime Obama backer added.

Casey, who recently announced his own support for Specter, seemed to be acknowledging the possible candidacy of Pennsylvania Rep. Joe Sestak.

While Sestak has yet to formally announce that he will challenge Specter for Pennsylvania’s Democratic Senate nomination, the congressman has been critical of Specter in a number of interviews since Specter’s recent defection to the Democratic Party.

A week ago on State of the Union, Sestak questioned whether Specter was a Democrat yet. That criticism was shortly followed by Sestak suggesting that even if Specter won in 2010, he might not be a reliable member of the Democratic Party in 2016.

Pennsylvania Democrat Joe Torsella, who announced his intention to run before Specter’s party switch, has said he is staying in the race and will challenge Specter for the Democratic nod.

Former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, a Republican who was considered a potentially formidable challenger to Specter in a general election match-up, recently announced that he will not run for election to the Senate in 2010.

Filed under: Arlen Specter • Bob Casey • Democrats • Joe Sestak • Pennsylvania • Senate • State of the Union
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Donnygull

    While I applaud anyone's willingness to leave a sinking ship I don't trust Specter one bit. Remember it was a young Specter that came up with the "magic bullet" theory for the Warren Commission.

    May 10, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  2. Joe for Joe

    Congressman Sestak has every right to run and would be a strong candidate. If the GOP is stupid enough to nominate Toomey then whomever the Democratic candidate is would be elected. Specter needs to go home and PA needs a new face.

    May 10, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  3. P from CA

    Specter was a moderate Republican that got pushed out of his party. The people of PA are voting Democrate so to switch was his only hope. Specter will have to prove he is a Democrate in action vs name only. The GOP will lose more members if they continue to lean so far right. Specter will make a great Blue Dog Democrate. Republican's loss Democrates gain.

    May 10, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  4. Patricia Hicks

    One does not really know which way SPECTER will go, I never really trusted him, he is a two face, two tongue person so I'll have to wait and see before I give him my blessings.

    May 10, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  5. Sparky

    Hilarious! Arlen Specter is more in line with mainstream Democratic thinking than anti-abortion Bob Casey ever will be!

    May 10, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  6. muffy

    There is only one place for Specter and that is a nursing home. He is despicable and I hope he gets defeated. I am a Liberal Democrat.

    May 10, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  7. Lori

    One more Democrat, one less Republican. That's all I care about. Welcome abroad Mr. Specter. There is room to disagree in our party.

    May 10, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |

    The Only way Specter will win PA Is if he Proves hes a DEMOCRAT!

    May 10, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  9. all the moderates should jump ship

    the GOP has obviously swallowed Rush's lies

    May 10, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  10. Proud DHS radical

    Two term limits is the way to go folks, if it's good enough for the President than by golly it's good enough for Congress and the Senate. In the mean time just vote any and all incumbants out until they get the message that they're suppose to work for the American people and not the other way around.

    May 10, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  11. JAY JOHN

    Specter should not be elected to office again, he can't
    be trusted .He sold out the american people for a bit
    of pork .

    May 10, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  12. Larry

    Sestak is an idiot seeking attention

    Specter all the way

    May 10, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  13. I laugh at Limbaugh daily

    Could it be that they both have their bread buttered by Israel?

    May 10, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  14. Kelby In Houston Texas

    If Specter wants support from my party, tell him to fully support the president's agenda!

    May 10, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  15. Mac

    Proud DHS radical – I agree with you 100%. We need term limits to bring in new blood and ideas and to eliminate the "power creeping" in today's politics. It doesn't matter if your a Democrat or Republican, when you get too comfortable where you are you forget you work for us.

    May 10, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  16. Simmy

    I agree with the Senior Senator Casey......Not just because he's hot.....

    May 10, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  17. Richard A. Spomer, Alexandria, VA

    You go man if you are not cool DOOD you will be the OLD DOOD?

    Senator Bob Casey is making a very valid point one should not be given mantle like President Obama's Aunt. There should be a Democratic election which he would have to run against Mr. Casey if so be it.

    Widen the field of Senate nomination; then Specter will have plenty of money in his war chest as well.

    May 10, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  18. Wade

    They ALL need to be voted out. Term limits for ALL elected officials.

    Spector only switched to save his job.
    I hope you Dems are smart enough to see him for who he is and show him the door, not the Senate floor.

    May 10, 2009 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  19. amb

    Lori says, "...there's room to disagree in our party." Really? I wonder if Joe Lieberman would agree. They ran him out of your so called big tent, all inclusive party, Lori. The republican party on the other hand put up with Specter for decades.

    May 10, 2009 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  20. JonDie

    Nobody, including Specter, owns the nomination. It's a free country.

    May 10, 2009 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  21. Pam

    What if Spector is really a wolf in sheep's clothing? He could grab the Senate seat and then defect back to the Republican Party. He is supremely self-serving. Pennsylvania deserves a young, erudite, hard-working Senator to deal with its myriad problems. Spector is 79 years old; on his second round of chemotherapy. He is as thin as a wraith and looks very sick. What are his chances to make it to 87 with such a dismal health history? The good people of Pennsylvania were smart enough to choose President Obama. They will be smart enough again to choose a sterling candidate to represent them. The more I listen to Rep. Sestak , the more I like him.

    May 10, 2009 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |