What happened? Post-primary roundup

Photo via the Philadelphia Inquirer

Good morning.

Pennsylvania’s political world is likely sleep-deprived and cranky today. If you’ve stumbled to your computer searching for more election news, here are some links to digest while you gulp down coffee.

In the marquee race of the night, Congressman Joe Sestak defeated five-term incumbent Senator Arlen Specter for the Democratic Senate nomination. Specter held wide leads over Sestak for months, and most political observers wrote off the two-term congressman before his campaign started airing television ads in mid-April. The Inquirer and Post-Gazette have more details. Specter’s loss signals the end of era, writes the Inquirer’s Tom Fitzgerald.

Sestak will face former Congressman Pat Toomey, who easily defeated conservative activist Peg Luksik in the GOP Senate primary.

The Democratic establishment, most of whom did everything they could to help Specter defeat Sestak, is now rallying around their unexpected nominee. Party chair T.J. Rooney is walking back his much-publicized “cataclysmic” comment, according to PoliticsPA. “Now that the primary is over, it’s time for us all to rally behind Joe Sestak and channel that passion and energy to getting him elected and preventing Pat Toomey from bringing his brand of far right, divisive politics to Washington,” he told the site.

In the gubernatorial campaign, we know one thing: Pennsylvania’s next chief executive will hail from Pittsburgh. Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato fended off the three other Democratic candidates, while Attorney General Tom Corbett easily defeated Representative Sam Rohrer. Corbett says he’ll have no problem bringing GOP voters together for the fall, but Rohrer’s camp disagrees.

The Democratic lieutenant governor race is too close to call, while Bucks County Commissioner overcame a slew of negative attacks to win the Republican nod.

In the PA-12 special election, Democrat Mark Critz won a surprisingly easy victory over Republican Tim Burns.

And the national anti-incumbent mood apparently doesn’t trickle down to state House races, as longtime Harrisburg power brokers Bill DeWeese and John Perzel won their primaries, despite facing corruption charges.


About pubradiopolitics
Scott covers state government and politics for Pennsylvania's public radio stations, including WITF in Harrisburg, WHYY in Philadelphia and WDUQ in Pittsburgh.

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