Two years after riding a wave of voter enthusiasm to an improbable victory for President Obama, Pennsylvania Democrats fell flat yesterday, with Republican former U.S. Rep. Pat Toomey leading the thumping over Joe Sestak in a very close race for the U.S. Senate.
Toomey jumped out to an early lead in the campaign and never looked back despite a surge from Sestak, a former Navy admiral, thanks to appearances from big-name Democrats. Toomey takes over Arlen Specter’s seat, which went blue last year when Specter switched parties to avoid a primary showdown with Toomey.
Toomey focused most of his campaign on reining in spending and creating jobs by providing tax cuts for small businesses. Despite largely ignoring Philadelphia, he garnered enough votes in the rest of the state to overcome Sestak’s edge in the state’s largest city.
Toomey, a graduate of Harvard, served three terms in Congress from 1997 to 2003. He cruised to the GOP nomination for the Senate after Specter’s party switch.