May 27th, 2009
06:04 PM ET
11 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. 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. Richard Englehardt

    I hope that congressmen wins this race. I hope that Rush Limbaugh works for Spector's defeat.

    May 27, 2009 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  2. Hans Brecker RI

    Doesn't Arlen make a nice Court Jester , all of that dancing around for the top PA job only to find out his master pupeteer lied. Boo Hoo so sad

    May 27, 2009 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  3. Lloyd

    Ha- so the 2 liberals in PA plan to do battle in spite of the backroom deal Specter made with his butt-buddy Obama. Oh well I hope they have fun so the conservative can kick their butt in the general election. Don't be fooled Repubs lost because they DIDN'T differnetiante themselves. America is conservative......

    May 27, 2009 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  4. Steve Martin

    Specter is going to find out very soon that turncoats are valued for their votes and adding to the party membership in the senate but will never really be trusted. Specter's party switch was not a matter of conscience or princple thats one thing. It was a cold calculated move with political survival as the motive....nothing else.

    May 27, 2009 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  5. louis Allen

    Sure, go ahead. Everyone has that right if he can fulfil the rules and has money. To me Spector has always been more like a spectre anyway.

    May 27, 2009 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  6. Tom

    Say Good Night Mr. Specter!

    May 27, 2009 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  7. Robert

    PLEASE Tom Ridge, RUN!

    May 27, 2009 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  8. Mike

    Primaries are a good thing. The President should have stayed out of Pennsylvania politics.

    May 27, 2009 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  9. Matt from NYC

    Joe Sestak will be the first democrat in history I am donating money to, mostly because he's got a better chance then the republican of knocking off that spineless traitor Specter.

    Sestak for Senate!

    May 27, 2009 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |

    At least a true Democrat will be running. Not a turn-coat who is only concerned about his own political survival. I, as a Republican who has Sestak as my Rep. view him as very effective and the whole Commonwealth will benefit from his being elected senator. In running he may be at odds with the party leaders and O'Bama but at least he is willing to step up to the plate and say that PA deserves better.

    May 27, 2009 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  11. ex-democrat

    For Pete sake, let the voters decide who they want to represent them. Not the Democratic Party, Not Obama but the voters. That is what our great country is all about. Freedom of choice. I should know!

    May 27, 2009 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  12. Mark

    Good for him. Specter will not serve the democrats of PA. He is too much of an opportunist.

    May 27, 2009 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  13. joanne

    great, we need younger fresher ideas in congress. some of these eople have been there over 25 years and what they ran on in the first place is long gone and not revelant for anythng anyore.. it is time for a good idea and more ideas from the congress.

    May 27, 2009 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  14. marshy

    Good news! Will be funny though to see how the Dem establishment pushes him aside. Not really into open and honest debate at all.

    May 27, 2009 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  15. Bill

    Maybe this will end Spectors career-These guys have been there way to long and should go-but they want to make a career out of this office and what we need is fresh blood in Washington.This country needs to vote these people out that have been up there all these years.This country needs change but people will not vote these people out after they have been there forever.Vote for change America.

    May 27, 2009 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  16. Jeff of Peoria IL

    I hope he kicks Spectors BUTT. He thought he could change parties to save his neck. What a coward

    May 27, 2009 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  17. Bob

    Run Joe run!! Defeat this republican opportunist in the primaries and go on to victory in the Keystone Senate race!!

    May 27, 2009 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  18. Voter from the "T"

    Why do Dems spend their “war chest” to scrimmage in Primary Elections when they can put it to better use in the General? Wonder where labor will be should this match-up become a reality? Can you say Employee Free Choice! Good luck gentlemen, because someone will be singing Little Anthony’s hit “I’m on the outside-looking in”.

    May 27, 2009 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  19. Larry

    Bye ... Bye Joe'y

    Your not motivating anyone except yourself ...

    But in your league , the minors ...

    That apparently is enough to satisfy your ego ...

    GO HOME JOE ...

    May 27, 2009 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  20. Larry

    Hey Joe'y ...

    I hear the Republicans are looking for a few good men ...

    You might be just what they need ...

    May 27, 2009 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  21. Larry

    If I were a Pennsylvanian voter ...

    This guy would not even reach the top 20 list ...

    Never mind the top ten ...


    May 27, 2009 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
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