Saturday, August 1, 2015

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

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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?

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About this blog
William Bender, a Drexel graduate who landed at the Daily News in 2007, has covered everything from South Philly mobsters to doomsday hucksters. He occasionally writes about local food trucks and always eats everything on his plate, whether it be a bloody rib eye or a corrupt politician. E-mail tips to benderw@phillynews.com
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David Gambacorta, has been a reporter with the Daily News since 2005, covering crime, police corruption and all of the other bizarre things that happen in Philadelphia. Now he’s covering the 2015 mayor’s race, because he enjoys a good circus just as much as the next guy. He’s always looking to get a cup of coffee. Send news tips and other musings on life to gambacd@phillynews.com
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