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Joe Sestak

Joe Sestak
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 7th district
In office
January 3, 2007 – January 3, 2011
Preceded by Curt Weldon
Succeeded by Pat Meehan
Personal details
Born Joseph Ambrose Sestak, Jr.
(1951-12-12) December 12, 1951
Secane, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Susan Clark
Children Alexandra
Alma mater United States Naval Academy
Harvard University
Religion Roman Catholicism
Website Official website
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch United States Navy seal United States Navy
Years of service 1974–2005
Rank Vice admiral Vice Admiral
(Retired as a Rear Admiral)
Commands Director of Navy Operations Group
Awards Defense Distinguished Service Medal (3)
Navy Distinguished Service Medal (2)
Legion of Merit (2)
Meritorious Service Medal (2)
Joint Service Commendation Medal

Joseph Ambrose "Joe" Sestak, Jr. (born December 12, 1951) is an American politician and former U.S. Navy three-star admiral. A member of the Democratic Party, he represented Pennsylvania's 7th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives from 2007 to 2011 and was the Democratic nominee for the United States Senate in 2010, losing to Republican nominee Pat Toomey. He was and remains the highest-ranking military official ever elected to the United States Congress.[1]

Sestak was a member of the USS George Washington carrier strike group during combat operations in the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean in 2002.

Sestak was elected to the House of Representatives in 2006 and re-elected in 2008. He declined to run for re-election in 2010, instead running for the Senate. He faced incumbent Senator Arlen Specter (who had recently switched from the Republican Party) in the Democratic primary and defeated him 54% to 46%. In the general election, he was narrowly defeated by Republican nominee Pat Toomey, 51% to 49%, a margin of 80,229 votes out of almost 4 million cast. He is seeking a rematch with Toomey in the 2016 election.

Early life, education and early career

Sestak was born in Secane, Pennsylvania, the son of Kathleen L. and Joseph Sestak, Sr.[2] His grandfather, Martin, came to America from the Slovak village of Dolné Lovčice in 1922, after World War I, while his father was sent to America in 1924 to join Martin. Sestak's father graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1942, and then fought in both the Atlantic and the Pacific during World War II, rising to the rank of captain.[3] Afterwards, he continued his service as an engineering officer at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard.[4]

Sestak attended Cardinal O'Hara High School in Springfield, Pennsylvania, where his mother worked as a math teacher. Sestak was deeply inspired by his father. He recalls the time Joseph Sr. spent five hours fixing the family car in the freezing cold of a Philadelphia winter:

"I remember going to the window and watching him. And the admiration that I had—just that strong determination of his. Never give in."[5]
Following in his father's footsteps, Sestak was accepted into the U.S. Naval Academy immediately after graduating high school, during the Vietnam War. In 1974, Sestak graduated second in his class of over 900 midshipmen, with a Bachelor of Science degree in American political systems.[6] Between tours at sea, Sestak earned a Master of Public Administration and a Ph.D. in political economy and government from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 1980 and 1984, respectively.[7]

Naval career

Sestak commanded the USS Samuel B. Roberts to victory in the Battenberg Cup.

As a surface warfare officer, Sestak served division officer tours as damage control assistant, combat information center officer and weapons officer on the guided missile destroyer USS Richard E. Byrd, and then was weapons officer on the guided missile destroyer USS Hoel. He then served as aide and flag lieutenant to the admiral in charge of United States Navy surface forces in the Pacific.

In January 1986, Sestak became executive officer of the guided missile frigate USS Underwood and was instrumental in the Underwood winning the coveted battle E and the Battenberg Cup (awarded to the best ship in the Atlantic fleet). He then served in the Politico-Military Assessment Division of the staff of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. On August 30, 1991, Sestak took command of the guided missile frigate USS Samuel B. Roberts, which was named the Atlantic Fleet's best surface combatant in the 1993 Battenberg Cup competition.

In July 1993, Sestak became the head of the Strategy and Concepts Branch in the office of the Chief of Naval Operations. From November 1994 to March 1997, he was the Director for Defense Policy on the National Security Council staff at the White House, where he was responsible for national security and defense strategy, policies, programs, inter-agency and congressional coordination and regional political-military advice. In May 1997, he became the commander of Destroyer Squadron 14.[6]

Sestak then directed the CNO's Strategy and Policy Division (N51), and led the navy's efforts toward the 2000 Quadrennial Defense Review, for which he analyzed the economic value of U.S. defense spending. After September 11th, he became the first director of the Navy Operations Group (Deep Blue), which sought to redefine strategic, operational and budgetary policies in the Global War on Terrorism. He reported directly to the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), Admiral Vern Clark, as policy adviser and administrator. Under Clark, Sestak worked to rein in military spending by maximizing fleet efficiency.[3]

Controversy over reassignment

Sestak as Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Warfare Requirements and Programs.

In the summer of 2005, Sestak was administratively removed from his position as Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Warfare Requirements and Programs (N6/N7).[8] His removal was one of the first changes made by Admiral Michael Mullen when he took over as the new Chief of Naval Operations in July, 2005, according to Navy Times. With his removal, Sestak was reassigned as a special assistant to the Vice Chief of Naval Operations.[9]

Controversy stirred over his leaving of the navy, as it was reported that it was because he "ruffled feathers" within the Bush Administration and conflicted with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld (who later resigned) because Sestak pushed for spending cuts.[4] In an investigative report by The Philadelphia Inquirer, Chief of Naval Operations Vern Clark stated that he,

"wanted straight talk, and this put [Sestak] in the crosshairs. People are going to say what they want to say, but he challenged people who did not want to be challenged. The guy is courageous, a patriot’s patriot."[10]

Daughter's illness

In the summer of 2005, his three-year-old daughter was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer. Sestak retired from the navy that year to help care for his daughter, who made a recovery. He retired as a two-star admiral, as he did not hold the rank of three-star Admiral long enough to retain it as a permanent rank.[4]

Military decorations

Sestak's decorations include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, two Legion of Merit awards, two Meritorious Service Medals, Joint Service Commendation Medal, three Navy Commendation Medals and the Navy Achievement Medal.[11]

U.S. House of Representatives

2006 election

Sestak and Senator Chris Dodd at a children's issues talk in August 2006

Sestak ran successfully for Pennsylvania's 7th congressional district, making him the second Democrat to win in the traditionally Republican district since the Civil War. The race was in the national spotlight, as it was profiled in Time Magazine as the harbinger of the national political climate of the 2006 elections and the most-watched swing district in the country.[12]

In 2006, with his daughter's recovery process going smoothly, Sestak was motivated to run for Congress due to the benefits he received under the United States Military's TRICARE health care program. Due to his high rank, his daughter received the care she needed to treat her brain tumor. Sestak stated that, during his travels to find the best treatment for his daughter, he saw children who didn't have the same quality care, or couldn't even afford the needed care. Thus, Sestak placed health care reform as a pillar of his campaign to make sure everyone had the same care his family had. He articulated that his congressional service was a continuation of his military service, for "paying back" the country that gave health care to his daughter.

Sestak began laying the groundwork for a Congressional run in his home district in Pennsylvania as a Democrat. However, he was approached and told that he had to first receive the endorsement of the "DCCC." Confused, Sestak first thought DCCC meant his hometown's Delaware County Community College. Eventually, he was steered toward the correct DCCC, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and informed its head, Rahm Emanuel, of his run for Congress.[13] Emanuel told Sestak he was not ready for such an election. Pennsylvania's 7th district is heavily conservative, as Republicans outnumbered Democrats 2:1. Sestak decided to run anyway and turned to his brother Richard and sisters Elizabeth and Margaret, who served as his campaign manager, top fundraiser and treasurer, respectively.[14] Sestak challenged ten-term incumbent Curt Weldon in a race for the seat. Sestak proved a capable fund-raiser. In the second quarter of 2006, he raised $704,000 to Weldon's $692,000; in the third, $1.14 million to $912,000. As of September 30, 2006, Sestak had $1.53 million cash on hand, while Weldon had $1.12 million in the bank after making a $500,000 TV ad buy that had not started as of the close of the third quarter.[15] Sestak received campaign funds from famed people around the world, including performer Jimmy Buffett, John Grisham, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and many Naval officers.

On October 6, 2006, the nonpartisan [17] On October 13, 2006, CQPolitics changed their rating on the race, from "Leans Republican" to "No Clear Favorite."[18] The race was locked in a dead-heat until late October, when FBI special agents raided the homes of Weldon's daughter and a close friend in connection with a federal corruption probe [19] (though as of 2009 neither Weldon nor his daughter were ever charged with a crime).[20] Sestak won by 13 points.

2008 election

Sestak at a campaign event in October 2008

In 2008, Sestak faced Republican nominee Wendell Craig Williams, a U.S. Marine and attorney. Sestak defeated him by a 20-point margin (59.6% to 40.4%), a full 8 points higher than his 2006 election, considered by many to be a landslide victory.[21] He did not purchase any advertisements, and his largest expense was lawn signs. Sestak became the second Democrat in the history of this district to be re-elected.

Legislation and key votes

Sestak wrote various pieces of bi-partisan legislation that successfully passed Congress. In 2008, he was identified by the National Journal as "at the ideological center of the House."[22] House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer named Sestak the most productive freshman member of Congress in 2007.[23] In the 111th United States Congress, Sestak's last term in office, Congress passed more bills written by Sestak than bills written by both of Pennsylvania's Senators, combined.

Most significantly, he created the House Pediatric Cancer Caucus, which he co-chaired; extended benefits for those seeking work (COBRA) as a part of the JOBS bill; co-wrote the amendment to give small businesses tax credits, as a part of health care reform,[24] and moved the first significant federals funds into autism care and research, nicknamed the "Sestak Amendment."[25]

As Congress' senior veteran, he was an original co-sponsor of the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell as well as the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act. Sestak also heavily advocated for the end of tax payer-paid bailouts to banks in the Wall Street Reform Bill.[25] Sestak voted for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, but lamented the fact that it did not provide enough accountability measures.[26] He also voted for the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009,[27] the American Clean Energy and Security Act,[28] and the Affordable Health Care for America Act.[29]

Some of his legislation that generated attention, but eventually failed in Congress, included researching potential adoption and expansion of Thorium-based nuclear power,[30] and the first legislation to restrict the effects of the controversial ruling of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.[31]

Social media

Sestak's official Congressional photo

In 2007, his campaign was the first federal campaign to create a Facebook Fan Page.[32] Sestak joined Twitter shortly before he was sworn in for his second term. His congressional account made him the first congressperson on Twitter to use it for an official basis.[33] After leaving office, his social networks were merged with his personal accounts, which have been verified.[34][35]

Sestak is said to been a prime example of receiving the Colbert Bump.[36] After appearing on The Colbert Report in 2008, Sestak spoke of the positive impact of social media and viral video clips of the appearance. Sestak appeared on the show even after Democratic leaders Rahm Emanuel and Nancy Pelosi issued a moratorium against the show and instructed Democrats to not appear on it.[37] After his first appearance,[38] he won his election with a landslide in a Republican majority district, and after appearing again in 2009[39] as a part of his announcement to run against incumbent Sen. Arlen Specter in the 2010 democratic primary, Sestak won with a surprising 8-point victory. Sestak, however, did not appear on the Report during the 2010 general election, which he narrowly lost. The day after the loss, host Stephen Colbert lamented the loss and called Sestak a "friend" on air.[40]

Congressional Staff

Sestak and his staff were recognized for their successful tenure and he was voted "The Most Productive Member of Congress."[41]

Sestak expressed pride in the constituent services his office provided, handling over 10,000 cases since he was elected. "Every person who has worked for me has been tremendous," he said. His staff serviced four times the constituent cases than that of the average Congressional office, while hosting an average of 15 large summit gatherings in his district each year on key issues.[42]

Some critics were quick to cite Sestak's handling of his Congressional staff as evidence to solidify "the perception that he is a taskmaster with a prickly streak." During his first term in office, Sestak employed 61 people as staff in his official congressional office, while other comparable Congressmen employed a total of 28, 26, and 25 staff members, indicating that Sestak had a high turnover rate. A former aide added that Sestak's staff turnover is not as much of a drawback as one might expect. "Other Members rely on their staff to keep themselves informed, but with him, it's top-down," the former aide said. "He knows what he wants to accomplish, so in a sense, he just needs people to dictate to." Sestak acknowledged that his aides spend long hours on duty and that the work is "pretty demanding." He added that the staff was becoming more stable as time goes on.[42]

2008 presidential election

Sestak endorsed Hillary Rodham Clinton for president in the 2008 Democratic primaries and served as her campaign national security adviser, specializing in veterans.[43] He told friend Stephen Colbert on The Colbert Report that he trusted her leadership while after serving with her in the White House.[44] In addition to being foreign policy adviser to Clinton, Sestak served as her superdelegate and a was a surrogate throughout the primary, appearing in several rallies and TV appearances for her. He appeared in an advertisement advocating Clinton's foreign policy strengths.[45]

He endorsed Barack Obama for the general election after Obama secured the presidential nomination for the Democratic party.[46]

Committee assignments

2010 U.S. Senate election

Primary election

Sestak speaking at an "Employee Free Choice Act Rally" at the Pennsylvania State Democratic Convention in Pittsburgh in June 2009.

Whispers of a possible Progressive Change Campaign Committee, entitled "Should a Draft Sestak movement be created to take on Sen. Arlen Specter in the Pennsylvania Democratic primary?" Nationwide, almost 8000 votes were cast with 86% responding yes and 85% of Pennsylvanians responding yes.[47]

Sestak faced significant opposition to his candidacy from President Barack Obama, the national Democratic Party and the state party. Then-Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell appeared on national television and stated that "Joe Sestak should not run for the Senate in the Democratic primary."[48] Sestak responded, "there’s no more kings, there’s no more king makers in America,"[49] and proceeded to visit all 67 counties of Pennsylvania.

On May 27, 2009, Sestak indicated that he intended to challenge current Senator Arlen Specter in the 2010 Democratic primary, pending a final family decision because he hadn't "had the time to sit down with my eight-year-old daughter or my wife to make sure that we are all ready to get in."[50] In June, he was overheard saying "[i]t would take an act of God for me to not get in now," in reference to the Senate race.[51] In a Quinnipiac University Polling Institute poll conducted May 20–26, in the Democratic primary, Specter led with 50%, with Sestak at 21% and 27% undecided. Despite the gap, it was noted that Sestak did not have much statewide recognition at the time, as he represented only one out of the nineteen Pennsylvania congressional districts.[52]

On August 4, Sestak officially announced his candidacy.[53] His only brother, Richard Sestak, was his campaign manager for the Senate race.[54] In discussing his opponent Arlen Specter's switch from the Republican to the Democratic Party, Sestak has said that the switch was "100%" motivated by politics.[55]

At a little after 10 p.m., on May 18, 2010, the Associated Press called the Pennsylvania Democratic Senate Primary for Congressman Sestak.[56]

Democratic opposition

Throughout the [59]

Job offer to Sestak

In an interview in February 2010, Sestak responded affirmatively when asked if the Obama administration had offered him a high-level White House job if he would end his candidacy for the Pennsylvania Senate seat, held by Arlen Specter. Sestak stated that he had quickly refused the offer.[60] When questioned about the specifics of the offer on Midweek Politics with David Pakman, he stood ground on refusing to add information to or comment further on his prior statements.[55][61][62] He continued to offer no further details to the media of what transpired until the Obama administration released its official report on the incident.

On May 28, 2010, the White House released an official report on the matter, authored by White House Counsel Robert F. Bauer, clarifying that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel enlisted former President Bill Clinton to approach Sestak about potential, uncompensated executive branch positions on senior advisory boards and stating Bauer's official opinion that nothing inappropriate, illegal or unethical had taken place.[63] The official report also stated that the offer had been made by former president Bill Clinton, on behalf of the Obama administration.

Following the release of the report, Sestak issued a statement in which he essentially confirmed the contents of the White House report.[64]

Republican Congressman Darrell Issa alleged that such an offer and Sestak's not reporting the offer could possibly have been felonies.[65] However, partisan legal analysts have disagreed with the suggestion that such a job offer would be illegal.[66]

General election

Many cited the Pennsylvania Senate general election as the "marquee race of 2010," a bellwether of the national stage. After securing the Democratic Party's nomination, calling it "a win for the people, over the establishment, over the status quo, even over Washington, DC," Sestak enjoyed a slight lead in the general election polls against the Republican Party's candidate, former Congressman and Club for Growth President, Pat Toomey. However, as Sestak tried to recoup his financial losses after a long primary, Toomey did not face a competitive primary process and aired TV ads much earlier than Sestak. Toomey's effective fundraising and advertising allowed for him to rise in the polls, at one point having a double digit lead, causing political pundits to change the race from a "Toss Up" to "Lean Republican."[67] Many stopped short of calling the race "Solid Republican" for Toomey, as Sestak had a reputation of campaigning until he "sees the whites of their eyes" and 11th hour comebacks.[68]

As the election neared, Sestak began airing ads in mid-fall and overcame his deficit and was behind by only a couple points, within the margin of error polling. Sestak narrowly closed the gap in October. At the beginning of election night, Sestak led in the exit polls by a large margin, but as more votes were counted, and the "red T" area of central Pennsylvania began reporting votes, Toomey caught up. Counting continued until early next morning, as the numbers were too close for a winner to be declared. As the percentages stabilized, and it was clear Toomey was the eventual winner, Sestak conceded the race to a ballroom-full of his supporters at the Radnor Hotel. He lost by 80,000 votes out of the 4 million cast, a margin large enough to avoid a recount. It was the smallest margin of loss of any Pennsylvania Democratic candidate in 2010.[69][70]

The total spending of the race was $20 million, the most of any other federal election in 2010. After the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling, conservative Political action committees and corporations broke the record for outside spending, airing ads on Toomey's behalf, causing Sestak to be outspent 3 to 1.[71] Sestak responded to this outside spending at Philadelphia Constitution Hall, arguing, "It is we the people. Not we the corporations; nor we Wall Street."[72]

2016 U.S. Senate election

After his defeat, Sestak served as a Distinguished Practice Professor at Carnegie Mellon University's Heinz College.[73] In May 2013 he was named the 2013-2014 recipient of the General Omar N. Bradley Chair in Strategic Leadership,[74] a joint initiative among the United States Army War College, Dickinson College and the Pennsylvania State University – Dickinson School of Law. Previous recipients of the Bradley Chair include former Assistant Secretary of State Philip J. Crowley and retired Major General John D. Altenburg.

This issue is, who has your back? [Toomey's] approach is, 'You're on your own.' Mine is to advance individual opportunity.

 — Sestak on why he was running again.[75]

The same month, Sestak launched an exploratory committee to seek a rematch with Toomey. He did not officially declare his campaign as that would contravene the rules of his new appointment.[76] In September 2014, as he campaigned with 2014 gubernatorial nominee Tom Wolf, he said that he would make an official announcement soon.[75] In November 2014, he sent out an email confirming his candidacy.[77]

If Sestak is nominated to run against Toomey in 2016 it would be the first rematch for a United States Senate seat in Pennsylvania history.[78][79]

Political positions


Sestak is pro-choice, holding a 100% rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America and a 0% rating from the National Right to Life Committee.[80][81] NARAL endorsed Sestak in the 2010 Democratic primary over Specter because of Sestak's opposition to a ban on partial birth abortion.[82] In 2009, Sestak's invitation to speak to students at the Catholic Malvern Preparatory School was rescinded after the school received criticism from Catholic parents and alumni.[83]


Sestak supports requiring Congress to offset the cost of all new spending. The Congressman also supports expanding middle class tax cuts and letting the Bush tax cuts expire. He voted for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the Stimulus) and the Tax Extenders and Alternative Minimum Tax Relief Act of 2008.[84]


Sestak voted for the Improving Head Start Act and the College Cost Reduction and Access Act.


Sestak voted for the Waxman Markey American Clean Energy and Security Act (Cap and Trade) program.[85] Joe Sestak has a 96% lifetime rating from League of Conservation Voters and a 100% rating from PennEnvironment. He was endorsed by the Sierra Club in his 2006 and 2008 Congressional election campaigns. He voted for the Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act of 2007 and the New Direction for Energy Independence, National Security and Consumer Protection Act. He was also an original co-sponsor of the Climate Stewardship Act (H.R. 620) and the Safe Climate Act.[86]

Gun rights

Sestak supports gun control and has a 100% rating from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence[87] and an F rating from the National Rifle Association.[88]

Sestak has called for the reinstatement of the federal ban on assault weapons.[89]


Sestak credits his support for health care reform as "pay back" to the country that provided him and his family health care while he was in the Navy (the TRICARE program), especially for successfully treating his daughter's brain tumor.[90] He supports state-provided preventive care and voted for the CHAMP Act. Sestak originally co-sponsored the Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiations Act, the Caroline Pryce Walker Conquer Childhood Cancer Act and co-sponsored H.R. 3800, which establishes a public-private Partnership for Health Care Improvement. He also announced the Pediatric Cancer Caucus, which he will co-chair.[91] He is also a member of the Autism Caucus, Diabetes Caucus,[92] 21st Century Health Care Caucus, Congressional Mental Health Caucus, Nursing Caucus, and Cystic Fibrosis Caucus.[93]


Sestak is an original co-sponsor of the Employee Free Choice Act and supports the original version that includes card check. He created the Labor Advisory Committee to address the challenges facing working families in his district.[94]

Medical marijuana

Sestak voted to allow states to regulate medical marijuana by voting for the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2008, which would have barred the Department of Justice from preventing the implementation of state laws regarding the distribution, possession, and cultivation of medical marijuana. The bill was defeated 165–262.[95]


As a candidate, Sestak campaigned to end the war in Iraq. Once in office in 2007, he supported Congressional efforts to re-deploy forces but also voted for war supplemental that the House constructed after President Bush's veto, a bill that many critics of the Bush administration have called a "blank check" for the continuation of administration policies in the Middle East.[96] However, Sestak and other veterans argued that they shouldn't punish soldiers for the President's actions, and supported the bill in order to provide adequate protection & equipment for the armed forces.[97]

Sestak supported the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which critics contend continues the Bush administration's policy of warrantless wiretapping and provides retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies who participated in the National Security Agency's "terrorist surveillance program."[98]

Sestak supported the deployment of additional troops to Afghanistan in late 2009, and military actions such as drone strikes in northwest Pakistan. He supports the gradual drawdown of troops from Iraq.[99]

Sestak was an opponent of "don't ask, don't tell", the policy that excludes gay and lesbian people from serving openly in the military, saying that the policy means "[w]e're absolutely not adhering to the ideals of our nation".[100] Sestak was instrumental in bringing to light a two-year pattern of abuse, including anti-gay hazing, that took place within a Military Working Dog unit stationed in Bahrain, sparking an investigation that turned up nearly 100 instances of abuse.[101]

Electoral history

2006 U.S. House election, 7th district of Pennsylvania
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Joe Sestak 147,347 56.4 N/A
Republican Curt Weldon (incumbent) 114,056 43.6 -15.2
Majority 33,291 12.8
Turnout 261,403
Democratic gain from Republican Swing
2008 U.S. House election, 7th district of Pennsylvania
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Joe Sestak (incumbent) 209,955[102] 59.6 +3.2
Republican Wendell Craig Williams 142,362 40.4 N/A
Majority 67,593 19.2 +6.5
Turnout 352,317
Democratic hold Swing
2010 United States Senate Democratic primary in Pennsylvania[103]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Joe Sestak 568,563 53.9%
Democratic Arlen Specter (incumbent) 487,217 46.1%
Totals 1,055,780 100%
United States Senate election in Pennsylvania, 2010 [104]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Pat Toomey 2,028,945 51.01% -1.61%
Democratic Joe Sestak 1,948,716 48.99% +7.00%
Majority 80,229 2.02%
Total votes 3,977,661 100.0%
Republican gain from Democratic Swing

Personal life

Sestak is married to the former Susan L. Clark. In childhood their daughter Alexandra survived brain cancer.[105]

See also


  1. ^ "Joe Sestak, the 60th Democrat". NYTimes. 2010-08-18. Retrieved 2012-11-02. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b Fitzgerald, Thomas. Sestak's tough fight for Senate seat. The Philadelphia Inquirer. 11 April 2010.
  4. ^ a b c Joe Sestak Biography
  5. ^ "Joseph Sestak Biography". Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  6. ^ a b VADM Joseph Sestak, USN Ret., Officer Bio File, United States Navy Operational Archives, U.S. Naval Historical Center, Washington Navy Yard, DC.
  7. ^ Malloy, Daniel. Sestak refuses to back down in race for Specter's seat. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 5 April 2010.
  8. ^ Jacobson, Louis. Sestak: Damn the Torpedoes, Full Speed Ahead. Real Clear Politics. 9 June 2009.
  9. ^ "Official U.S. Navy bio". 2006-02-01. Retrieved 2011-06-02. 
  10. ^ "Veterans tell Specter to take down ad against Sestak (VIDEO REPORT)". 2010-04-021. Retrieved 2011-06-02. 
  11. ^ "Vice Admiral Joseph A. Sestak, Jr". 1951-12-12. Retrieved 2010-06-13. 
  12. ^ Klein, Joe (2006-09-17). "In Pennsylvania, it's the Admiral Vs. the Firefighter". TIME. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  13. ^ Source: C-SPAN, Dec 13, 2010
  14. ^ Murray, Shailagh; Kane, Paul (June 13, 2010). "Outsider candidates for Congress seek insider help in general election".  
  15. ^ Source: Delaware County Daily Times, Oct 4, 2006
  16. ^ Bender, William. Sestak’s coffers continue to grow. Delaware County Daily Times. 4 October 2006.
  17. ^ "Majority Watch". Majority Watch. Retrieved 2010-06-13. 
  18. ^ Giroux, Greg. Navy Vet Sestak Coming Closer to Sinking Weldon in Pa. 7. Congressional Quarterly. 13 October 2006.
  19. ^ Dale, Maryclaire (2006-10-21). "Weldon Faces Tough Opponent, FBI Probe". Retrieved 2009-08-10. 
  20. ^ Bender, William. Court Action Suggests Weldon May Walk. Philadelphia Daily News. 14 February 2009.
  21. ^ "Sestak V. Williams". 2008-11-04. Retrieved 2010-06-13. 
  22. ^ The Centrists National Journal. 3 March 2008.
  23. ^ Rose, Alex. Democrat leader: Sestak was most productive freshman in U.S. House. Daily Times. 26 December 2007.
  24. ^ "Web Page Under Construction". Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  25. ^ a b "Web Page Under Construction". Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  30. ^ Congressman Calls for Thorium Energy. International Thorium Energy Organisation
  31. ^ Sestak Seeks to Undo Citizens United Decision. The Pennsylvania Progressive
  32. ^ "The few, the proud, the tweet-less". 
  33. ^ "Tweet Grader: joesestak1". 
  34. ^ 
  35. ^ 
  36. ^ "Representative Sestak Hopes For Another Colbert Bump". Lez Get Real. 
  37. ^ "Emanuel to new Democratic members of Congress: Avoid Colbert". Raw Story. 
  38. ^ "Better Know A District - Pennsylvania's 7th - Joe Sestak". Colbert Report. 
  39. ^ "Joe Sestak". Colbert Report. 
  40. ^ "We Hardly Knew Ye". Colbert Report. 
  41. ^ "Sestak to meet with students". The Daily Collegian. 2010-01-14. Retrieved 2014-10-27. 
  42. ^ a b "Sestak: Damn the Torpedoes, Full Speed Ahead?". Real Clear Politics. 2009-06-09. Retrieved 2009-08-10. 
  43. ^
  44. ^ "Better Know a District - Pennsylvania's 7th - Joe Sestak". 
  45. ^ "War Over The Wonks". Washington Post. 
  46. ^ "Congressman Joe Sestak's (PA-07) Endorsement of Senator Barack Obama for President of the United States and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces". Retrieved 2010-06-13. 
  47. ^ "Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC)". Retrieved 2009-08-10. 
  48. ^ 'The Ed Show' for Friday, May 29. MSNBC.
  49. ^ "Sestak still hitting party leaders". 2010-06-08. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  50. ^ "'"Sestak: 'I intend to get in this race. 2009-05-27. Retrieved 2010-06-13. 
  51. ^  
  53. ^ "Home". Retrieved 2009-08-10. 
  54. ^ "Sestak seen as most likely to run against Specter in primary". web site. Sam Rohrer. 2009-04-29. Archived from the original on 2010-02-18. Retrieved 2010-02-19. 
  55. ^ a b March 17, 2010. Midweek Politics with David Pakman.
  56. ^ Toeplitz, Shira. The admiral sinks Arlen Specter. Politico. 18 May 2010.
  57. ^ "Specter fundraiser stalls Senate voting". Washington Times. 2009-09-16. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  58. ^ by: MinistryOfTruth. "Specter uses Dem donations to refund GOP donors". The Progressive Electorate. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  59. ^ "President Obama’s Campaign Arm Tries to Get Grass-Roots Democrats to Defeat Fellow Progressive — Political Punch". 2010-05-15. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  60. ^ Fitzgerald, Thomas. Sestak holds to story of job offer. The Philadelphia Inquirer. 20 February 2010.
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  62. ^ "Midweek Politics with David Pakman – Interview With Congressman Joe Sestak Part 2 of 2". YouTube. 2010-03-17. Retrieved 2010-06-13. 
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  64. ^ "RAW DATA: Sestak's Statement on White House Report on Job Offer". FOX News. May 28, 2010. Retrieved May 28, 2010. 
  65. ^ "Who Offered Sestak a WH Job? – CBS News Video". Retrieved 2010-06-13. 
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  69. ^ Levy, Marc (2010-11-03). "Pa. Dem concedes to GOP's Toomey in Senate race". The Washington Post. 
  70. ^ Picture of Joe Sestak and family at Radnor Hotel, 11/3/2010.
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  84. ^ Economy Joe Sestak: Democrat for Senate.
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  88. ^ "Project Vote Smart – National Rifle Association Ratings". Retrieved 2009-08-10. 
  89. ^ O'Toole, Jim. Sestak: reinstate assault gun ban. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 6 August 2009.
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  91. ^ "Pediatric Cancer Caucus". Retrieved 2010-06-13. 
  92. ^ Diabetes Caucus Members. Congressional Diabetes Caucus.
  93. ^ Congressional Cystic Fibrosis Caucus. Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
  94. ^ Health. Joe Sestak: Democrat for Senate.
  95. ^ State and Federal Medical Marijuana Law Enforcement and Implementation. Project Vote Smart.
  96. ^ Joe Sestak and Allyson Schwartz Vote to Continue the War Unabated. Young Philly Politics. 22 June 2008.
  97. ^ Congressman Sestak Votes for Passage of War Supplemental: Appropriations measure also contains vital funding for Gulf relief, education, veterans, border control.
  98. ^ Roll Call Vote for HR 6304, FISA Amendments Act.
  99. ^ Defense. Congressman Joe Sestak.
  100. ^ Kornreich, Lauren (2009-10-12). "Sestak: 'Rogue unit' abused gay sailor". CNN. Retrieved 2009-10-22. 
  101. ^ Witte, Brian (2009-10-21). "Petty Officer forced to retire early". Associated Press. Retrieved 2010-09-12. 
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  104. ^ "2010 General Election". Elections Information.  
  105. ^ Joe Klein (2010-05-16). "Arlen Specter – Joe Sestak Race Heats Up in Pennsylvania". Time: The Weekly Newsmagazine. Retrieved 2010-05-16. 

External links


United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Curt Weldon
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 7th congressional district

Succeeded by
Pat Meehan
Party political offices
Preceded by
Joe Hoeffel
Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania
(Class 3)

Most recent
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