Maloney, Sestak Set to Challenge Democratic Establishment

Posted July 1, 2009 at 11:05am

Two House Democrats moved even closer to challenging incumbent Senators in primaries next year, according to local media reports Wednesday.

It’s been no secret that Reps. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) and Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) have been gearing up to challenge Sens. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), respectively, for their jobs next year.

Both Members seem undeterred by the fact that the two Senators enjoy the strong support of national party leaders, including powerful forces within the White House.

Sestak made a definitive statement to the Wayne Independent on Wednesday, saying he’s in the race, period. Previously, Sestak had said he intended to run, but he had to get the approval of his family.

“I am going to get into the race against Arlen Specter in the Democratic race for Senator,— Sestak told the newspaper.

Meanwhile, in New York, the White House was instrumental in clearing Rep. Steve Israel (D), who was set to challenge Gillibrand, out of the primary in May. But a report Wednesday in the New York Daily News said Maloney doesn’t intend to be shoved aside.

“She’s definitely decided to run,— a senior Maloney adviser told the newspaper. “She’s in it.—

Recent polling has shown that both Gillibrand and Specter would be vulnerable to a primary challenge from the left.