PHILADELPHIA — After serving two terms in Congress, Joe Sestak will not run for re-election for Pennsylvania’s 7th District in 2010. Sestak, who recently defeated long time Senator Arlen Spector to earn the Democratic bid for the United States Senate, leaves an open seat in the 7th District.
Sestak, a Democrat, defeated 20-year Representative Curt Weldon, a Republican, in 2006. In 2008, Sestak won re-election, defeating Wendell Williams with 59.6 percent of the vote. The two candidates vying for Sestak’s seat are Democrat Bryan Lentz and Republican Pat Meehan.
A Snapshot of Pennsylvania’s 7th District
Like much of the country, the biggest issues at hand in the 7th District start with the economy. Increasing jobs is fundamental in the district. Other key issues include better sources of energy, better health care, seniors issues, and general government reform, according to the Lentz campaign website. The 7th District, like most of the country, Lentz says, is frustrated with the status quo of government, perhaps a telling reason why Sestak defeated Spector in the Senate primary.
Lentz has served in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives since 2007. Lentz is an attorney who graduated from Georgetown University. Lentz carries with him the support of Sestak, which will no doubt aid him in his election bid. On his website, Lentz mentions a few key points about his plans to work on some of the issues in the 7th District. Lentz hopes to end tax breaks for companies that outsource jobs as well as providing tax breaks for small businesses in an effort to trigger new jobs here. Lentz also wants to encourage new ideas in renewable energy by providing tax breaks to businesses who are innovative. Lentz also wants to work to eliminate fraud and abusive activity in health care and in the private business sector, as well as working to save Social Security.
Meehan spent seven years as the US Attorney for Pennsylvania’s Eastern District, meaning he was the top federal prosecutor in the Philadelphia area. Meehan is noted for prosecuting many corruption cases, including those of city councilmen Rick Mariano and State Senator Vincent Fumo. Meehan plans to attack the economic crisis by providing ‘a favorable economic environment that allows small businesses to grow and flourish’ (Meehan Page). He is opposed to any tax hikes for the middle class. Meehan also considers transportation a major issue and wants to invest time in that. With regard to healthcare, Meehan mentions two issues – “controlling health care costs and increasing accessibility to health care,” according to Meehan.
According to the Meehan site, debates will be starting on July 8th. Polls have the race in the 7th district very close. Real Clear Politics has the election leaning toward Meehan. Cook Political lists the 7th district as a toss-up, according to the Cook Political Election Map. By all accounts, the 7th District figures to be one of the most competitive in Pennsylvania. With no incumbent and having gone both Republican and Democrat this decade, this race will be a tight one.
Bryan Lentz Page
Pat Meehan Page
Real Clear Politics
Cook Political Election Map
PA Election Returns