The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

May 16, 2013

Sestak ponders Senate campaign in 2016

JOHNSTOWN — Possibly running for governor in 2014 really tempted Joe Sestak.

The Democrat topped Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican, by 14 percentage points in a recent Quinnipiac University poll.

He previously reached the rank of three-star admiral in the U.S. Navy, served in the U.S. House of Representatives and created statewide name recognition during a 2010 Senate campaign.

So, he clearly stood a good chance of running a competitive campaign.

But he plans to forgo a chance at the governorship.

Instead, on Tuesday, Sestak announced he has formed an exploratory committee for a U.S. Senate run in 2016.

“It became pretty obvious that, although I love executive responsibility, that even state and local leaders are going to be boxed in because of the failure of the Senate,” Sestak said before attending a reception for Korean War veterans in Johnstown on Thursday. “The Senate just goes from crisis to crisis. Instead of addressing an issue before it becomes a crisis, they wait until it becomes a crisis and then they try to act. But they don’t.

“Sequester, fiscal cliff, supercommittee, debt ceiling – they just go from one to the other, and that is going to harm America. So, I thought the strength I might bring in leadership, accountability, in being looked at, as the National Journal said, as someone who is in the ideological center of the House when I was there, might help bring some semblance of governance back for the working families of Pennsylvania.

“I think it’s harming their job growth, and they say it, and their opportunities here. That’s why I decided to (explore a Senate campaign).”

He made the formal an­nouncement shortly after Re­publican Party of Pennsylvania Chairman Rob Gleason, a Cambria County resident, filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission that accuses Sestak of amassing a war chest without providing a statement of candidacy or personal financial disclosure report.

Gleason contended that Sestak was “either willfully breaking the law now, or hiding his real intentions from the public.”

The complaint was notarized on May 10 and made public on Monday.

Sestak said his decision had nothing to do with the complaint.

“We planned for the an­nouncement on Tuesday a number of weeks ago,” said Sestak, who stated the video included in his committee’s web­site launch was filmed in Philadelphia before the FEC issue arose.

Sestak lost the 2010 Senate race against Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican, by 2 percentage points.

“I think that I just have to do what we tried to do last time and be even better,” Sestak said. “It’s nobody’s fault but my own.”


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