Despite endorsements, Sestak faces uphill race

    Even though Congressman Joe Sestak trails incumbent Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter in opinion polls, he’s recently picked up some endorsements in his campaign for the May 18th Democratic primary.

    Even though Congressman Joe Sestak trails incumbent Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter in opinion polls, he’s recently picked up some endorsements in his campaign for the May 18th Democratic primary. 

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    Last week, Sestak got the endorsement of the National Organization for Women. Monday, he got the thumbs up from the United Food and Commercial Workers union.

    But Franklin and Marshall College political scientist Terry Madonna says, despite vigorous campaigning, Sestak is unknown to most voters outside of the Philadelphia media market.

    Terry Madonna:

    He’s got to go on the airwaves, radio and TV. And he’s got two messages. Message number one: Arlen Specter is not one of us. The second thing, and this is maybe more important: it’s time to vote the establishment out.

    The recent labor endorsement came because Sestak is an enthusiastic supporter of legislation making it easier to organize unions. But Arlen Specter has labor backing as well. And he has the support of state and national Democratic Party leaders. Sestak wants to turn that to his advantage and portray himself as anti-establishment.

    Joe Sestak:

    And the establishment, from the Democratic Party here in Pennsylvania towards DC said, “Joe, don’t run.” But I went to 67 counties and found out the establishment was wrong. Arlen Specter gave 2,000 votes to George Bush that harmed my district.

    Sestak says he has more money in the bank than any previous challengers to Specter. And that money will get him on television across the state. Political scientist Terry Madonna says the TV ads will do more than any endorsements.

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