In Pennsylvania, Democratic candidate Joe Stesak is mounting an impressive anti-Arlen Specter campaign in the impending Democratic primary this coming Tuesday. Specter, a long-time liberal Republican, switched to the Democrats a couple years ago to help solidify Democrat control of the Senate. The move received a lot of appreciation from Senate Leader Harry Reid, who looks likely to be fired by Nevada voters in November. Reid couldn’t have been more grateful, in fact, if he’d been a fireman at a fire sale.
But that doesn’t mean Pennsylvania Democrats want the former GOP bogeyman hanging around either their cheese and drinking their wine; Stesak, a reliable ultra-lib, appears to have Democrat voters ready to send Specter packing before November. He charges that Specter’s party change was more about saving his seat than real conviction, and it’s a charge that sticks.
It’s a mixed bag choice for the Dems, however; Specter isn’t any more trustworthy for the Dems than he was for the GOP, but he has strong name value on a ballot. Stesak is likely to be far more dependable, but doesn’t have Specter’s name value.
One advantage to giving the nod to Stesak is the anti-incumbent fever sweeping the electorate this year; if the Dems fire Specter by nominating Stesak on Tuesday, they avoid Pennsylvania voters doing the job in November, which would turn the seat back to GOP hands. However, the question remains whether Stesak has any better change to defeat his GOP opponent in November, given Stesak’s weak name value.
Time will tell.