Tag Archives: Joe Sestak

With Beto Out … Will the Rest
of the Dominoes Start to Fall?

Beto O’Rourke | Facebook Photo

By Jim Ellis

Nov. 5, 2019 — Former US Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) ended his presidential campaign Friday, joining Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), ex-Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, US Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA), New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, and US Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) as 2020 national contenders who are no longer in the race.

O’Rourke’s concession statement made reference to departing because he no longer possesses adequate resources with which to compete. Beginning as a top tier candidate with a strong financial base, his effort rapidly crumbled largely due to ill-advised comments, poor debate performance, and calling for assault weapon confiscation, which did not reinvigorate his campaign as he expected. O’Rourke had hoped to use the latter issue to begin cracking into the party’s far-left faction that Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) seemingly have cornered.

Democratic leaders had from the outset attempted to persuade O’Rourke to challenge Texas Sen. John Cornyn (R) instead of running for president, but they were ignored. In his statement announcing the end of his national campaign, the former congressman addressed the speculation that he might return to Texas to challenge Cornyn, but again ruled out running for that office or any other in 2020.

How does the Democratic race change now that O’Rourke has departed? Largely, his move could be a precursor of many more exits to come. At this point, it is clear three candidates occupy the top tier and separation exists between them and the rest of the pack. Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sens. Warren and Sanders maintain the top three positions in virtually every poll, and it is reasonable to expect that one of them will eventually become the Democratic nominee.

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg has recently made a resurgence after lagging in single digits since the second nationally televised debate in July. Concentrating on fundraising and organization, Buttigieg’s efforts have proven worthwhile. Raising $19.1 million just in the third quarter, placing him behind only Sanders ($25.3 million raised in Quarter 3) and Warren ($24.6 million) during that period, the mid-size city mayor has brought in over $51.5 million since the onset of his presidential campaign.

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“Admiral Joe” Is Now 25th Candidate

By Jim Ellis

“Admiral Joe” Sestak

June 26, 2019 — The Democratic presidential field has now grown as large as a professional baseball team, as the 25th candidate came forward this week. Former Pennsylvania representative and defeated US Senate nominee Joe Sestak, who is emphasizing his long military career in rising to the rank of a Navy three-star admiral and serving on President Clinton’s National Security Council, officially entered the national campaign.

Sestak was first elected to the House in 2006 and served two terms from southeastern Pennsylvania’s 7th District. The new presidential candidate unseated 20-year congressional veteran Curt Weldon (R) in his first election and was easily re-elected in 2008. He chose to run for the Senate in 2010, defeating party-switching Sen. Arlen Specter 54-46 percent in the Democratic primary, but then lost to Republican Pat Toomey 51-49 percent in the succeeding general.

Sestak would return in the 2016 Democratic senatorial primary but fell to former gubernatorial chief of staff Katie McGinty after running a rather bizarre campaign that featured the ex-congressman walking the entire state of Pennsylvania but doing very few candidate appearances or media events along the way.

He joins the presidential field long after his new opponents have been campaigning for weeks and months but says he delayed his entry for family reasons. Sestak points out that his daughter has again been fighting brain cancer, which he claims she has beaten for the second time during her life.

Regardless of the reason, Sestak, who is calling himself “Admiral Joe” in this campaign and doesn’t use his congressional title in his new slogan, which reads, “ADM JOE, Accountability to America,” is likely entering too late to become an effective candidate with the ability to challenge for the party nomination.

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Maryland, Pennsylvania
House Primary Preview

By Jim Ellis

Maryland

April 26, 2016 — With representatives Chris Van Hollen (D-Montgomery County) and Donna Edwards (D-Prince Georges County) locked in a Senate Democratic nomination battle that is now favoring the former, we take a look at the state’s House primaries that will be decided in today’s election.

Though all but one Maryland House incumbent faces primary opposition, the real action is in the state’s two open seats. No incumbent primary challenge is viewed to be serious including that of former state Delegate Mike Smigiel who, along with two others, is opposing the lone Republican incumbent in the congressional delegation, three-term Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD-1).

MD-4: The 4th District, Edwards open seat, features former Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, who badly lost the 2014 gubernatorial campaign to now-Gov. Larry Hogan (R). He squares off in a multi-candidate contest with former Prince Georges County State’s Attorney Glenn Ivey, College Park state Delegate Joseline Pena-Melnyk, retired Army officer Warren Christopher and psychologist Terence Strait. The winner takes the heavily Democratic seat in the general election. Brown is attempting to resurrect his political career after losing embarrassingly to Hogan even when cast as the early favorite.

MD-8: Van Hollen’s open 8th District is an overwhelmingly Democratic seat anchored in Montgomery County before going all the way to the Pennsylvania border. Today, the multi-million dollar mega-Democratic primary to replace him concludes. Since Maryland has no run-off law, the Democratic nomination, and therefore the seat, will be decided today. Continue reading

Graham Out; Senate Primary Preview

By Jim Ellis

April 25, 2016 — Ever since the Florida State Supreme Court decided to re-draw the congressional boundaries halfway through the decade, freshman Rep. Gwen Graham (D, FL-2, Tallahassee) has been in the political wilderness. The court declared eight of the state’s districts unconstitutional last July and finished the new map earlier this year, radically changing the original plan as enacted by the legislative and executive branches.

After the preliminary map became public it was evident that Rep. Graham was becoming a political casualty. Wanting to draw a minority 5th District that stretched from Jacksonville to Tallahassee instead of the traditional draw that began in J’ville and then meandered through Gainesville and Sanford on its way to Orlando, the court sacrificed Graham by removing the Democratic base from the 2nd District seat and transferring it to the new District 5.

Rumors were rampant that Graham, the daughter of former governor and US Sen. Bob Graham (D), would enter the open Senate race. As time passed with no movement in that direction, it was apparent she saw her career heading in a different direction. Yesterday, Rep. Graham announced that she will not seek re-election, and broadly hinted that running in the open 2018 governor’s race is within her political future.

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New Senate Primary Polls

By Jim Ellis

April 8, 2016 — Democrats have two near-term US Senate primary battles underway and both will be decided on April 26. The Maryland Democratic primary will almost assuredly determine who succeeds retiring Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D). The Pennsylvania contest will identify first-term Sen. Pat Toomey’s (R) general election opponent in what promises to be a hotly contested campaign with national implications.

Maryland

The polls have seesawed for weeks between representatives Donna Edwards (D-Prince Georges County) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Montgomery County). Just last Friday, Van Hollen released his own Garin Hart Yang Research survey giving the candidate a 45-40 percent advantage, but this is the only recent poll arriving at such a conclusion. Several days earlier, the Baltimore Sun published their data giving Edwards a 34-28 percent lead.

Seeing this, the Washington Post, partnering with the University of Maryland, went into the field with their own poll (March 30-April 3; 539 likely Maryland Democratic primary voters) and also found Edwards ahead. The spread was 44-40 percent among likely Democratic primary voters and 44-35 percent when the entire registered Democratic universe (741) was queried. The conclusions are exactly the opposite of Van Hollen’s findings.

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