The likelihood of a deal that would have seen U.S Rep. Joseph Sestak’s (D-Pa.) early exit from the 2010 Democratic Pennsylvania senatorial primary seems likely considering the recent wheeling and dealing to save healthcare reform by President Barack Obama and the Democratic Congressional leadership.
You’ll recall the extra Medicaid funds Obama promised to Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) in exchange for an endorsement of his healthcare bill. The administration also steered funds toward a bank in North Dakota with alleged ties to Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), according to Politico.com. Conrad is the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee.
Allegedly, White House staff spoke privately with Sestak regarding an undisclosed position in the administration in return for dropping out of the race. The White House, including President Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden, has publicly endorsed Arlen Specter for a sixth term.
The White House has neither confirmed nor denied the acknowledgement by Sestak on Larry Kane’s program “Voice of Reason” in February that there was a deal on the table.
Obama recently campaigned for Specter while touting healthcare reform in Glenside, Pa, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. Specter’s independent views on health care and being a key 60th vote in the former Democratic supermajority may have prompted him to switch parties in 2009.
The election of Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) in January reduced the Democrats to 59 senators thus no longer a filibuster-proof majority.
Sestak is facing an uphill battle to oust Specter, a born-again Democrat who had been a Republican for nearly 30 years. He served on the National Security Council in the Clinton Administration as a defense advisor, according to The New York Times.
Specter began his career as a Democrat while he was District Attorney of Philadelphia, according to his congressional web site. Both men are staunch supporters of Obama’s health initiative.
Sestak, by running for the Senate, is ineligible to run for a third term in the House.