It was former U.S. Rep. Pat Toomey's show but he put it on in U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak's back yard. And so the two men fighting to be the junior Senator from Pennsylvania spent a couple of hours today trading barbs in a two-block area of Havertown, Delaware County. Toomey, who represented the Lehigh Valley, announced his event days ago. Sestak, who represents Delco, had his camp scramble to make an impression today.
Toomey called reporters to the home of Mary Ellen Jones, a tea party activist who previously has protested with Delaware County Patriots outside Sestak's office, to denounce with a dozen supporters Sestak's "bailout" votes to help automobile manufacturers and people struggling with mortgages. Toomey complained that Sestak has introduced a bill in the U.S. House to help people with mortgage trouble, legislation he warned that would drive the country deeper into debt. "What is shocking is that isn't enough for Joe Sestak," Toomey said of Sestak's previous votes. "The fact is Joe Sestak is siding against taxpayers every time."
Forty Sestak supporters stood outside, waiving signs accusing Toomey of being in bed with Wall Street special interests. Sestak then held his own event two blocks away, where he stood with the owner of a car repair business, a man who nearly lost his home due to mortgage trouble during a medical crisis and a nurse who said federal health care legislation has helped save jobs at Crozer-Chester Medical Center. Sestak insisted he seeks pragmatic solutions while Toomey sticks with conservative ideology. "He has just been out of touch," Sestak concluded.
Three Toomey staffers stood outside the Sestak event, held at the home of Haverford Township Democratic Ward Leader Tom Shiffer, keeping an eye on the backyard event. The suburban face-off seemed to suggest a very long and hot political summer in the Senate race.