Representative Joe Sestak (D-PA) won the Pennsylvania Democratic primary for US Senate yesterday and ousted incumbent Arlen Specter (D-PA), who has held the seat for nearly 30 years, all but the past year as a Republican. Sestak had approximately 54 percent of the vote with 98 percent of precincts reporting, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Specter notoriously switched to the Democratic party last year. A Sestak campaign commercial showed Specter saying "My change in party will enable me to be reelected."
In the general election, Sestak will face former Republican Congressman Pat Toomey. Sestak already has an endorsement from NARAL Pro-Choice America, reported the National Partnership for Women & Families. Sestak's 2006 campaign website stated, "Regardless of my religious beliefs, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Roe vs. Wade that - as a nation - the United States should offer every woman the right to have a legal and safe abortion, if that is her choice. I support that decision," according to On The Issues. Toomey is rated 0% by NARAL Pro-Choice America and Specter was rated 21%, both indicating an anti-choice voting record, with Specter's record slightly more mixed.
Also as a result of yesterday"s primaries, two-term incumbent Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) was forced into a runoff with her most competitive opponent, Arkansas Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter, in the Democratic primary for the seat. NPR reported that with 62 percent of precincts reporting, Lincoln and Halter each had about 43 percent of the vote and a third candidate, businessman DC Morrison, had 14 percent. Lincoln is a moderate Democrat who is currently one of just 17 women in the US Senate.
Media Resources: Philadelphia Inquirer 5/19/10; National Partnership for Women and Families 5/19/10; On the Issues; NPR 5/19/10