If Democrat Joe Sestak wins his party’s primary and runs against incumbent Republican Sen. Pat Toomey in 2016, it would be the first rematch of major party candidates in Pennsylvania’s history of U.S. Senate elections, according to a review by the blog Smart Politics.
Pennsylvania has held 38 special and general elections for U.S. Senate since 1914, when the state began choosing senators based on direct popular vote. In that time, a defeated candidate has never sought and earned the right to take another shot at the victor, Smart Politics found. The data-driven blog is written by Eric Ostermeier, a researcher at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
Ostermeier discovered that five minor party Pennsylvania U.S. Senate candidates have had rematches against the same opponent, but none of them got more than 5 percent of the vote: Socialist William Van Essen against Republican David Reed (1922, 1928), Van Essen against Republican James Davis (1930, 1932), Socialist Labor candidate Frank Knotek against Democrat Francis Myers (1944, 1950), Knotek against Republican Edward Martin (1946, 1952), and Socialist Labor candidate George Taylor against Republican Hugh Scott (1958, 1964).
Sestak Tuesday said he was exploring a run for Senate in 2016, bypassing the Democratic primary for governor in 2014. He raised $460,000 in the first three months of the year, according to federal campaign finance reports.