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Pennsylvania Senate Race

Incumbent -- Arlen Specter (D) ; Defeated by Rep. Joe Sestak, D, in primary election on May 18, 2010

Tossup
Race Ratings Key
 

Updated Oct. 14, 2010

Former Rep. Pat Toomey (R) has shown signs of pulling away from Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak in the weeks leading up to the general election in a race once thought to be among the nation's premier Senate contests.

Look for that trend to continue, so long as President Barack Obama's popularity struggles in this largely blue-collar state where the health of the economy may determine election outcomes as much as the candidates.

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But don't write off Sestak, who was once thought to trail Specter by double digits in the weeks leading up to the Democratic primary. He trailed Toomey by 5 to 8 points in various public polls released in late September.

Both campaigns will spend heavily in the race, which has attracted steady attention from the president and third-party groups, such as the Club For Growth, which Toomey led from 2005 to 2009.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is set to outspend its Republican counterpart 3-to-1, if it follows through with its reserved TV time.

Toomey will fight the perception that he is too close to Wall Street. And Sestak, like most Democrats in Congress, will fight to persuade frustrated Democrats and independents not to abandon his party.

But as long as the president's favorables hover around 40 percent, as recent polling shows, Sestak may struggle regardless of his strategy.

 

State Information

U.S. Senate Delegation: 2 Democrats, 1 Republican
U.S. House Delegation:

Pennsylvania's Other Senator

Sen. Arlen Specter-D
First Elected: 1980 (5th term)
Last Elected: 2004 (52.62%)

State Offices

Governor: Tom Corbett, R
First Elected: 2010 (1st term)
State House Control: Democratic
State Senate Control: Republican

State Election History
Year Election Candidate Votes Percent
2010 general Patrick Toomey (R) 2,028,945 51%
Joe Sestak (D) 1,948,716 49%
2004 general Arlen Specter (R) 2,925,080 52.6%
Joseph Hoeffel (D) 2,334,126 42%
James Clymer (CNSTP) 220,056 4%
Betsy Summers (LIBERT) 79,263 1.4%
1998 general Arlen Specter (R) 1,814,180 61.3%
Bill Lloyd (D) 1,028,839 34.8%
Dean Snyder (CONSTL) 68,377 2.3%
Jack Iannantuono (LIBERT) 46,103 1.6%
1992 general Arlen Specter (R) 2,358,125 49.1%
Lynn Yeakel (D) 2,224,966 46.3%
John F. Perry III (LIBERT) 219,319 4.6%
1986 general Arlen Specter (R) 1,906,537 56.4%
Robert Edgar (D) 1,448,219 42.9%
1980 general Arlen Specter (R) 2,230,404 50.5%
Peter Flaherty (D) 2,122,391 48%
Linda Mohrbacher (SW) 27,229 0.6%
David K. Walter (LIBERT) 18,595 0.4%
Lee Frissell (CON) 16,089 0.4%
Frank Kinces (COM) 3,334 0.1%
Vote For President
Year Democrat Republican Independent
2012 + : Newt Gingrich:
2008 Barack Obama: 54.65% John McCain: 44.3%
2004 John Kerry: 51% George W. Bush: 48%
2000 Al Gore: 51% George W. Bush: 46%
+ Nearly complete, unofficial returns

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