Thursday, December 25, 2014

The silence of Sestak

Silence does not come easy to former U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak.
That was the lesson learned when Sestak took on and defeated U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter in the 2010 Democratic primary election before losing to U.S. Rep. Pat Toomey in the general election.
Sestak always wanted to talk

The silence of Sestak

Former U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak
Former U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak

Silence does not come easy to former U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak.

That was the lesson learned when Sestak took on and defeated U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter in the 2010 Democratic primary election before losing to U.S. Rep. Pat Toomey in the general election.

Sestak always wanted to talk. He wanted to share his concerns about foreign policy, federal health care legislation and Social Security with any crowd, big or small. He would corner reporters after events and pile on with more information. He wanted to be heard.

Three years later, Sestak is the sphinx of Pennsylvania politics. Big questions about his future go unanswered.  Will he jump into the 2014 race for governor? Is he planning on a Toomey rematch in 2016?

Last month, Sestak said he was “just making sure what I do is the right decision.” That’s as explicit the former U.S. Navy admiral gets these days.

Rob Gleason, chairman of the Pennsylvania Republican Party, wants answers. Gleason on Friday filed a complaint against Sestak with the Federal Elections Commission. Gleason’s complaint noted that Sestak raised $460,250 for his federal political action committee from Jan. 1 to March 31.

That, Gleason said, triggered a federal requirement that Sestak file a statement of candidacy for the 2014 election cycle. Gleason slammed Sestak for not being “open and transparent” about his intentions.

Sestak spokesman Edwin Wee on Monday said the fund-raising report was valid under federal law.  "It was validated with the FEC three times that exploratory committees have no statements of candidacy and that our fundraising was per its guidelines for an exploratory committee," Wee said in an email.

Why the silence? Well it can only help Sestak’s political brand these days to have people publicly speculating about his plans. He could be a formidable foe in a Democratic primary, since the 2010 race boosted his statewide name recognition.

Why else would Gleason go after Sestak?

About this blog
Chris Brennan, a native Philadelphian and graduate of Temple University, joined the Daily News in 1999. He has written about SEPTA, the Philadelphia School District, the legalization of casino gambling, state government, the mayor, the governor, City Council and political campaigns. E-mail tips to brennac@phillynews.com
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Jenny DeHuff is a 2005 graduate of the University of Rhode Island, where she cut her teeth in journalism. A South Philly transplant from New England, she joined the Daily News City Hall Bureau in 2013. For the past several years, she has worked as an investigative reporter exposing corruption in suburban politics, covering sometimes ghastly criminal court cases and following the people’s money and how its spent. In addition to being a dogged news hound, she enjoys reading and writing about travel, animals, Irish whiskey and aviation. E-mail tips to dehuffj@phillynews.com
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