Pennsylvania: Report — Democrats Get Top Recruit in Dent Race

Posted July 22, 2009 at 6:42pm

The Allentown Morning Call reported Wednesday that Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan (D) will challenge Rep. Charlie Dent (R) next year.

Sources told the northeastern Pennsylvania newspaper that Callahan has told party leaders that he is putting a campaign team together and an official announcement is coming soon.

Local and national Democrats tried to recruit Callahan to run for the 15th district Lehigh Valley seat in 2006 and 2008, but the two-term mayor turned them down each time. He only recently indicated that he was interested in running against Dent next year, telling Roll Call in late June that he was “actively considering— a bid.

With Callahan in the race, Dent is expected to have his first tough re-election battle since being elected in 2004. Dent easily won in 2006 and 2008, even though his district favors Democrats in national contests.

Specter, Toomey Tied in New Senate Poll

Sen. Arlen Specter (D) is in a dead heat with former Rep. Pat Toomey (R), according to a new poll.

Specter had a statistically insignificant lead over Toomey, 45 percent to 44 percent, in a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday.

The 29-year Senator from Pennsylvania announced in April that he was switching parties to run for re-election as a Democrat in 2010 because he could not win a Republican primary against Toomey.

The poll showed Specter appeared to be on solid ground in the Democratic primary with Rep. Joe Sestak, who has all but officially announced his candidacy. Specter led Sestak in the poll, 55 percent to 23 percent.

Specter also showed his highest disapproval and lowest approval ratings with voters since his 2004 primary against Toomey — a contest the Senator barely won. Specter had a 47 percent approval rating and a 46 percent disapproval rating.

The poll sampled 1,173 Pennsylvania voters from July 14 to 19, with a sample of 512 Democrats. It had a margin of error of 3 points.