Sestak kicks off Senate campaign with walk across Pa.

Confirming what’s been clear for years now, former Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Delaware County) today kicked off his campaign to challenge Republican U.S. Senator Pat Toomey in next year’s election.

Sestak narrowly lost to Toomey in the 2010 Senate race, and he’s been planning a rematch ever since. His announcement featured military veterans who promised to support the former admiral in his quest to return to Washington.

After a short speech, Sestak strapped on his old combat boots and embarked on a walk he said would take him to the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial a few blocks away.  In coming days he says he will continue 420 miles to the western edge of the state.

“I will begin to walk in the shoes of the under-served, the poor, the homeless, those who fall through the cracks,” Sestak said, “and then I will continue day after day, walking in the shoes of small business owners, law enforcement, hunters, women.”

Before he can face Toomey, Sestak will first have to win the Democratic nomination, and he may face opposition in the party primary next year.

Among Democrats mentioned as potential candidates are Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams, Philadelphia state Sen. Vincent Hughes, and former Pennsylvania U.S. Rep. Chris Carney.

Sestak said he was anxious to take on Toomey, who he said had failed to vote for services for veterans and the homeless.

Mark Harris, a campaign strategist for Toomey said in a statement, “Joe Sestak has been running for this office for six straight years, so nothing changed today. While former Congressman Sestak remains obsessed with his personal ambition for higher political office, Senator Toomey will continue to keep his focus on ensuring Pennsylvanians’ safety and security, and promoting fiscal responsibility in Washington.”

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