In an important victory yesterday for Council for a Livable World supporters, U.S. Representative Joseph Sestak toppled long time incumbent Sen. Arlen Specter in the Pennsylvania Democratic Party.
Sestak won 54% – 46%, coming from behind in the last weeks of the campaign. Last night he declared: “This is what democracy looks like: a win for the people, over the establishment, over the status quo, even over Washington, D.C.”
Council for a Livable World endorsed Sestak, a former Admiral, early in the campaign for his strong record on nuclear weapons and other national security issues. It was his first national endorsement. Council board member Gen. John Johns personally delivered the Council endorsement last year. We were also the first national organization to endorse Sestak in his successful underdog run for the House of Representatives in 2006 and were proud to endorse him again when he ran for reelection in 2008. Council supporters contributed over $54,000 to Sestak’s campaign against Specter.
Sestak now faces former U.S. Representative Pat Toomey, a far-right conservative, in what will be one of the marquee contests of the 2010 election. If elected to the Senate, Sestak will be an important champion of our issues.
In other primaries, Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway (D) held off a late surge by Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo (D) to win the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate by about 5,000 votes. He will face ophthalmologist Rand Paul (R), a tea party hero who overwhelmingly defeated the favorite of Senate Republican leader Sen. Mitch McConnell.
Council for a Livable World, which did not pick sides in the primary, will now carefully consider endorsing Conway.
In Arkansas, Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D) and Lt. Gov. Bill Halter (D) will face each other in a June 8 runoff as neither candidate won the required 50 percent of the vote. The winner is likely to face U.S. Rep. John Boozman (R).
In the most closely watched House contest of the night, Pennsylvania Democrat Mark Critz (D), a longtime aide to the late U.S. Rep. John Murtha (D), won 53% – 45% over businessman Tim Burns (R) in a special election that Republicans hoped would be a harbinger of big gains in November. The Critz victory was the sixth straight for Democrats in contested special House elections.
Council for a Livable World will continue to work to elect Senators who will vote for the New START nuclear reductions treaty and the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty – including, of course, Joe Sestak.
We thank you for your strong support of Sestak and your continued involvement in key Senate battles over the next five months.