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Weighing Obama’s influence on Pa. Senate race

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

President Obama visited Philadelphia twice before the election hoping to spur Democratic turnout in the vote-rich city.

Despite that effort, Democrat Joe Sestak lost a close race for U.S. Senate. However, returns suggest it wasn’t because Philadelphia Democrats stayed home. Sestak got 350,000 votes in the city, nearly as many as fellow Democrat Bob Casey got four years ago in a winning Senate campaign.

The battle Sestak lost was for hearts and minds in the Philadelphia suburbs. He failed to carry two of the four suburban counties, and got nearly a hundred thousand fewer votes there than Casey did.

Muhlenberg College political scientist Chris Borick said Sestak’s “underperformance there really did cost him more than his performance coming out of the city itself.”

In the end, it appears Obama’s efforts to get Philly Democrats to stand by their president got Sestak close, but not close enough.

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