Pennsylvania Senate candidate Joe Sestak is looking for help from political heavyweights this week in the House Democrat’s latest effort to come out from behind his Republican challenger, former Rep. Pat Toomey.
Former President Bill Clinton teamed up with Sestak on Monday morning during a visit to a local Jewish community center. During their appearance, Clinton praised Sestak’s record on Social Security and other topics.
Later Monday, Vice President Joseph Biden is scheduled to attend an event for Sestak in Philadelphia.
Both events come on the heels of Sestak’s unusual campaign appearance with Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), whom Sestak billed as “a longtime independent voice in the Senate who predicted the dire consequences of creating too big to fail’ banks.” During their appearance, Dorgan, who is retiring at the end of this Congress, slammed Toomey for his efforts to deregulate financial markets amid the financial sector meltdown.
Sestak could use all the star power he can get in his race: he is behind Toomey by at least 9 points in three of the previous four public polls released. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has reserved $5.7 million for the Pennsylvania race; by contrast, the National Republican Senatorial Committee has reserved $2.5 million for the open-seat contest between Sestak and Toomey.
Sestak defeated Sen. Arlen Specter in the Pennsylvania Democratic primary in May. Prior to that contest, the White House had asked Clinton to try to convince Sestak to abandon the race by offering him an unpaid administration position — an offer Sestak refused.