U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak’s victory over U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania’s recent Democratic Senate primary election was helped at least in part by President Barack Obama, two Lehigh professors wrote in an op-ed column published last week by The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Writing on Thursday, June 3, Brian Pinaire and Frank Davis, professors of political science, said Obama was Sestak’s “most high-profile non-supporter.” Although the president endorsed Specter, his support for the incumbent in the waning days of the campaign was “tepid,” the professors wrote. And it can be “reasonably inferred,” they added, that Sestak won a majority among the 111,000 new Democrats added to the state’s voter rolls by Obama’s 2008 registration.
Sestak, who has represented Delaware County for four years in Congress, beat Specter, who has served five terms in the Senate, by 8 percentage points in the primary election on May 18.
He will face Republican Pat Toomey, a three-term former U.S. Congressman from the Lehigh Valley, in the general election on Nov. 2.
The op-ed by Pinaire and Davis was titled “Sestak’s best non-supporter.” It can be read here.