Next Tuesday, voters will witness something that has become as rare as a total solar eclipse: a very competitive Democratic Senate primary in a race that matters. Former U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak, Katie McGinty, who was most recently chief of staff to Gov. Tom Wolf, Braddock Mayor John Fetterman, and businessman Joe Vadvarka are vying for the nomination to take on GOP U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey in the fall. McGinty and Sestak are the clear frontrunners. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is famous for avoiding primaries, largely by anointing its preferred candidate and drying up the fundraising prospects of would-be challengers. Most candidates them simply get out of the way. They haven’t been as successful this cycle; there are competitive primaries in California, Florida and Maryland, but the Pennsylvania contest matters more since it is the only one which the Democratic nominee will face a Republican incumbent. Sestak is not a favorite of the DSCC or, more importantly, the Senate Democratic leadership. The acrimony dates back to the 2010 cycle when then-GOP Sen. Arlen Specter switched parties and ran for

More from the Cook Political Report

Four Possible Leaders; Four Unenviable Tasks
National Politics
Photo of Charlie Cook
First Person
Cook Politcal Logo
Where History Rhymed and Where It Didn’t
National Politics