Former U.S. Rep. Pat Toomey, who is hoping for an election rematch against U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter in November, just issued a letter where he asks: "Is there no low to which you will not stoop in an attempt to win an election?" Toomey is picking up on ads Specter started running on television this week, attacking his primary election opponent, U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak, as a poor leader during his service in the U.S. Navy.
Toomey notes that Specter came after him last year, before he declared his intention to run again. Specter, while still a Republican, narrowly defeated Toomey in the 2004 primary. Factcheck.org took a look at Specter's attack on Toomey last year and cited some "scorched-Earth slip-ups."
We speculated in today's column about Specter's strategy for going negative. We'll leave it to PhillyClout readers to decide if Toomey is simply defending the honor of a man who served his country or piling on with Sestak, who has declared that he's going to go toe-to-toe with Specter in this fight. Or both? You can read Toomey's letter after the jump.
April 23, 2010
Senator Arlen Specter
711 Hart Bldg
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator Specter:
It is a clear matter of record that I have very strong disagreements with Congressman Joe Sestak on many important issues affecting the economy, health care, taxes, and even national security. But I also have the utmost respect for his decades of military service to our country. It is highly regrettable that you have chosen to disparage an honorable man’s military service in order to promote your own political career.
Over the years, you have developed a reputation for political attacks ads. I had not even announced my candidacy last spring when you raced out of the blocks with an attack ad that was so wildly inaccurate it was quickly discredited by fact checkers and news organizations. You will recall that your ad was characterized by FactCheck.Org as a “scorched-earth slip-up” and you were forced to remove it from the airwaves.
But now you have stooped to a new low, attacking Congressman Sestak’s thirty-year military service. This is not only insulting to veterans across America who sacrifice so much to protect our nation, but to all Pennsylvanians. Is there no low to which you will not stoop in an attempt to win an election?
Our state’s Democratic primary voters will decide whether they prefer you or Congressman Sestak as their nominee, and that is their right. But it’s pretty clear that there will be two different races in the fall depending on their choice. Joe Sestak and I have already engaged in two spirited, yet civil debates. Pennsylvanians can rightly expect that we would continue in that manner, which is not only respectful to each other, but more importantly, respectful to voters. If you become your new party’s nominee, then it appears that Pennsylvanians will be in for one outrageous or blatantly false attack ad after another. Our state deserves better.
I hope you will do the right thing and remove your attack on Joe Sestak’s military service. And I hope you will pledge to the citizens of our state that should you make it to the general election, you will cease your brand of negative advertising that the Pittsburgh Tribune Review called “embarrassing.”