As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

PA-Sen: Sestak Waiting Too Long?

Joe Sestak may be embarking on a tour of every county in Pennsylvania, but if you tell anyone that he's running for Senate, he'll track you down and immediately disavow any official announcement. And this hemming and hawing has led another candidate to enter the race.

While Congressman Joe Sestak keeps sticking his toe in the water, another Democrat has already plunged into a primary race against U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter - state Rep. Bill Kortz, a little-known two-term legislator from the Mon Valley, outside Pittsburgh.

Kortz, 54, a 30-year veteran of the steel industry who's held elective office for just 2 1/2 years, announced his candidacy in April, when Specter was still a Republican and various Democrats were licking their chops about taking him on. Specter's metamorphosis to a Democrat won endorsements from President Obama, Gov. Rendell and Sen. Bob Casey, and convinced Joe Torsella to drop out of the Senate race.

But Kortz says that the party leadership is out of touch with Democratic voters and vows to drive his Ford minivan throughout the state to contest Specter's re-election.

Kortz doesn't have much money, though his populist message may connect a bit, particularly because he'll be the only candidate from the western half of the state. But significantly, as an elected official he'll need to be part of all the debates and process stories about the race. And he splits a sliver of the anti-Specter vote. Which makes Sestak's job more difficult. If he'd quit dipping his toe in the water and just get in the damn race, maybe Kortz gets out of his own accord.

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