The Pennsylvania Democratic primary season just got more interesting. Congressman Joe Sestak is mounting a challenge against Senator Arlen Specter, who recently switched his party membership, but has managed to retain the backing of the state party.
As is often the case with primary challengers, party officials attempt to convince the upstart to drop out of the race to avoid a politically costly battle in the run up to the general election. Sestak revealed Thursday, possibly by accident, that the Obama White House engaged in a little quid pro quo offering him a federal position if he would do them the small favor of dropping out of the race. More from the Philadelphia Inquirer:
The disclosure came during an afternoon taping of Larry Kane: Voice of Reason, a Sunday news-analysis show on the Comcast Network. Sestak would not elaborate on the circumstances and seemed chagrined after blurting out “yes” to veteran news anchor Kane’s direct question.
“Was it secretary of the Navy?” Kane asked.
“No comment,” Sestak said.
The admission sheds light on a process that usually remains behind closed doors and this revelation will almost certainly not be well received by Specter’s campaign or the Obama White House. The winner of the Democratic primary will likely face former Republican Congressman Pat Toomey in the general election. Toomey currently leads both Specter and Sestak in head-to-head match-ups by about ten points, and Specter is beating Sestak in the primary by fifteen points.