Bridgeville, Pennsylvania — The nation’s eyes will be on Pennsylvania on Tuesday as Democratic voters take to the polls. The race for the United States Senate between incumbent Senator Arlen Specter and U.S. Representative Joe Sestak is still too close to call on the eve of Election Day. Both Specter and Sestak spent the day campaigning across the state while their negative campaign ads hit the airwaves several times an hour.
Senator Arlen Specter shocked Republicans one year ago when he announced that he was leaving the party and was planning to run for re-election as a Democrat. Specter received the party’s official endorsement over Sestak in February receiving over 77% of the votes. Specter received endorsements President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, US Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid and Governor Ed Rendell. Specter has also received the endorsements of the Service Employees International Union, the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO and Pennsylvania State Education Association. The majority of the state’s major newspapers including The Pittsburgh Post Gazette, The Philadelphia Daily News and The Philadelphia Inquirer have all endorsed Specter. Actor Michael J. Fox has announced his endorsement of Specter and his position on stem cell research.
Congressman Sestak is endorsed by the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. Sestak is also endorsed by the National Organization for Women, NARAL Pro Choice America, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union and Pennsylvania Brotherhood of Locomotion Engineers and Trainworkers. Former Massachusetts Congressman Eric Massa and State Senator Jim Ferlo also endorse Sestak.
In May 2009, Specter was leading the race 62% to 24%. By December 2009, the margin narrowed to 48% to 35% in favor of Specter. Polls taken on Sunday, May 16, show Specter and Sestak in a dead heat with 44% each.
Sestak’s campaign ads have focused on Specter’s switch to the Democratic Party claiming it was just a ploy to get himself re-elected. The ads have also focused on Specter’s relationship with former President George W. Bush and Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin. The campaign also claims that Sestak was offered a position in Obama administration if he dropped out of the race with Specter.
The Specter campaign has been focusing on Congressman Sestak’s poor attendance record not only in the state but also in all of Congress. The campaign also focuses Sestak’s alleged firing from a top Naval Post and for paying his campaign workers less than minimum wage.
With only 30% to 35% of registered voters expected turn out at the polls on Tuesday, the race will most likely remain too close to call until long after the polls close. This election may prove to be more about Pennsylvanian’s satisfaction or dissatisfaction about what is happening in Washington DC than what is happening in our own state.