Tuesday, May 12, 2009

More on Sestak's record; More Specter reaction; Psst - what about public option in health care?

First, from the Tribune-Review, more on Sestak's record and labor dissatisfaction with Specter:

Sestak, a former defense counterterrorism expert, sponsored legislation to set a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq, but voted against cutting appropriations as a way to end the war. And although he supported the bank bailout and the economic stimulus plan, he recently voted against bills limiting executive compensation.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce rated Sestak 60 percent on its issues in 2007, compared with 82 percent for Specter. The AFL-CIO gave Specter a 68 percent rating in 2007, and Sestak a 96 percent rating for his votes on organized labor's priorities.

The story also contains this:

Labor leaders are pressing Specter for his failure to support the Employee Free Choice Act, commonly known as card check. The legislation would have made it easier for labor unions to organize.
"Arlen drove labor's support away from himself over the last three or four weeks," said Allegheny County Labor Council President Jack Shea. "The rank and file are mad, not only in Western Pennsylvania but also in Eastern Pennsylvania and Central Pennsylvania. They are upset."
Shea said it's too early to say which candidate organized labor would support, but that it would be a mistake to dismiss Sestak, who supports card check.
"I think his stock has risen since Specter came over to the D side, if for no other reason than he's getting a lot more play nationally. ... I think he's a strong candidate," Shea said.

The Philadelphia Daily News reports on Specter's visit to the Democratic Party's Philadelphia pre-election-day fundraiser. Apparently he was "warmly" received by many there. However, Tony Rhodin at the Easton Express-Times fired off a blast Monday night, titled "Arlen Specter not a Democrat, so why would Democrats vote for this Republican? Won't another Dem give us a choice?"

Interesting story at Politico about Specter's fundraising:
He has a lot of work ahead of him. He’s raised about $9 million for his reelection campaign next year and has about $7 million in the bank. Given the cost of recent Keystone State Senate races, he’ll need at least another $10 million and more if he winds up with a Democratic primary challenger, said Jennifer Duffy, an expert on Senate races at the Cook Political Report.

Speaking of fundraising, the organizers of the recent "Draft Sestak" online straw poll announced today the creation of a "Draft Sestak Fund" page on ActBlue.

Worth noting that there's also an ActBlue page for Joe Torsella (who has already announced for Senate).

Still waiting to hear from Congressman Sestak and Mr. Torsella where they stand on the hugely important question of including a public option in the universal health care bill, as President Obama wants. (Meanwhile, Sen. Specter recently hinted at a leftward shift on that crucial question.) More about public option here and here.

The Washington Post reports that a 2004 ad Santorum did for Specter ("Arlen is with us on the votes that matter") is making the rounds in D.C.

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