Toomey, Sestak to team up on Specter again

In a letter to Democratic Congressman Joe Sestak, U.S. Senate candidate Pat Toomey agreed to participate in round two of what is shaping up to be a right-left tag team against the Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-Democrat Arlen Specter, who trails former Congressman and Club for Growth President Pat Toomey, according to a recent Rasmussen Poll. Both Toomey and Sestak hope to replace Specter in the Senate in November.

From the report:

A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of likely Pennsylvania voters finds Toomey out front 47% to 38%. Five percent (5%) prefer another candidate, and 10% are undecided.

A month ago, Toomey posted a 49% to 40% lead over Republican-turned-Democrat Specter.
Specter is running comfortably ahead of his Democratic Primary challenger, Congressman Joe Sestak. Toomey, for the second month in a row, leads Sestak 43% to 35%. Given that match-up, seven percent (7%) like some other candidate, and 15% are not sure whom they’ll vote for.

In December, Toomey led Specter by four and Sestak by six.

Toomey and Sestak debated healthcare last September, and each took turns contrasting their positions from that of Arlen Specter, whose position on health care wavered as he moved from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party.

The Toomey campaign issued this statement today:

Dear Joe:
Thank you for your letter of February 18th inviting me to join you in a debate.  I can certainly understand your frustration with Senator Arlen Specter’s refusal to engage in debates with you.  Like many politicians who have spent decades in Washington, Sen. Specter maintains a sense of entitlement to his office and he is unwilling to put his record and ideas to the test of open and honest debate.  Pennsylvanians deserve better than that from their U.S. Senator.
I share your view that our debate last September on the vital topic of health care was very constructive.  Not only did it offer Pennsylvanians an opportunity to hear vastly different perspectives on health care policy, but it also showed that a liberal like you, and a conservative like me, can have a civil and productive dialogue even in the midst of a competitive campaign.  That’s something that is all too rare in the political process today, and I commend you for your interest in pursuing it.
I am pleased to accept your invitation for another such joint forum.  This time, I suggest we focus our debate on what is unquestionably the number one issue facing Pennsylvania and America, namely the state of our economy and our nation’s fiscal policies.   
As you know, Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate is 8.9%.  That is 1.4 points higher than at this time last year when you voted to spend $787 billion on a government spending “stimulus” plan that was sold as something that would reduce joblessness.  In the ensuing year, while our economy has worsened, so too has our nation’s fiscal outlook, with a current year’s budget deficit larger than any in U.S. history.
These are topics that are very worthy of discussion, and I agree that Pennsylvania voters will benefit from a vigorous exchange of ideas.  I will have my campaign staff contact yours to work on the details of date, location, and format.
I look forward to it; but this time, you’re buying the beer.

It is these kinds of exchanges that the average American voter can appreciate. Certainly, Specter’s slumping popularity is helping drive the back-and-forth between Toomey and Sestak, but the combination of factors which are driving these campaigns will only help the voters in Pennsylvania decide.

Matthew Hurtt graduated from Middle Tennessee State University in May 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Science. He can be reached at [email protected].