Tonight U. S. Rep. Joe Sestak, a former Navy admiral and unapologetic liberal, toppled Arlen Specter, the longest-serving U. S. senator in state history.
With 77 percent of the statewide vote counted, Sestak, 58, a two-term Congressman from Delaware County, held a solid 50,000-vote lead in his bid to end Specter’s 30-year run in the Senate. Specter carried Philadelphia, where he began his political career as district attorney in the 1960s, by some 45,000 votes, but he lost virtually every other county in the state.
Sestak’s opponent in November will be Republican Pat Toomey, 48, a former Congressman from the Lehigh Valley whose calls for lower taxes and reduced government regulation have made him a favorite of the conservative right.
Capturing better than three-quarters of the Republican vote, Toomey handily defeated Peg Luksik, a Johnstown homemaker who supported a Constitutional amendment against abortions, among other conservative positions.