Pennsylvania Dems Are Taking The Gloves Off In Senate Primary

As Katie McGinty prepares to face the first major test of whether her establishment endorsements and Washington, D.C. lobbyist backers can do more for her fundraising numbers than they have for her poll numbers, her Democratic opponents are deploying increasingly aggressive rhetoric to paint her as a tool of establishment elites.

Ahead of Wednesday’s quarterly fundraising deadline, Sestak ratcheted up his attacks on the party bosses backing McGinty, referring to her as “their handpicked primary candidate” in a fundraising email:

It’s déjà vu all over again: the party elite are lining up behind their hand-picked primary candidate while the Admiral is taking his message directly to the people.

There is no doubt what’s happening in the country right now. Democrats, Republicans and Independents just do not trust the establishment – an establishment that actually thinks they can pick and choose candidates.

The email’s subject line read “No more kings, no more kingmakers” and was accompanied by a graphic featuring McGinty’s elite backers, like former Gov. Ed Rendell.

Sestak’s shot across the bow came just days after Braddock mayor John Fetterman, the latest Democrat to jump into the race, took on McGinty – and later Sestak – directly at a campaign fundraiser filmed by an America Rising tracker. In response to a question about his relationship with the state party, Fetterman sounded off on McGinty “being shuffled around” by the party leadership:


QUESTION: What’s your relationship with the state party? Have they already decided who they’re going to back as a candidate, and does that make a difference?

FETTERMAN: No, they haven’t officially backed anybody. I think unofficially one of my opponents, Katie McGinty, is kind of being shuffled around as the [inaudible] candidate, but I don’t expect to be the leadership’s choice. I don’t look like the party leadership’s choice, I’ve never played that kind of role, you know, I never have in my community and I’m not going to play it in this election, and I would just encourage anybody to kind of take a look at my record compared with the other two people that are involved in this race and I think you’ll see that despite being a small town mayor [inaudible joke]…

I think if you compare a lot of the things that we’ve accomplished here in Braddock, and compare to the fact that I’m the only person in this race that has constituents, you know, and again, I’ve raised more money than Joe Sestak or Katie McGinty, the difference is those funds went to build up my community – not into my campaign coffers. If I’d been doing this for the last seven years like Joe Sestak has or, you know, Katie McGinty, I’d be sitting on a big war chest of funds too.

But our fundraising is going really great, I certainly need everyone’s help in the room if they believe in what I’m saying tonight because it’s a sad state of affairs that money does determine a lot of it. I wish it was a competition on ideas, and resumes, and a track record but the fact of the matter is you are judged by how much money you have in your campaign coffers and we’re rapidly closing in on 1,000 donors.

I’m taking this grassroots, just the way my other election was in Braddock and, you know, 1,000 donors is well ahead of Katie McGinty, and it’s like [inaudible] we have this grassroots campaign, and to me that’s the most important thing. Win or lose, if I do it with integrity and from a grassroots perspective, you know, no matter what the final vote is I feel like I can’t lose.