WASHINGTON – Republican Sen. Pat Toomey is wading into the Democratic primary race with both elbows out.
Toomey on Tuesday launched a web site – WhoIsWorse.com – bashing the two leading Democrats running to challenge him, Katie McGinty and Joe Sestak.
Choose one link and viewers arrive at a site calling McGinty, Gov. Wolf's former chief of staff, "Corporate Katie" and accusing her of profiting as she moved between government work and the private sector. Try the other link and you arrive at a site calling Sestak "Joe Saystax" and labeling the former admiral and Delaware County congressman an "extreme liberal" who loves President Obama's health care law.
"The key question for Democrats in Pennsylvania isn't who is the better candidate," said Toomey campaign spokesman Steve Kelly. "The key question is who is worse?"
Toomey's attack site makes no mention of a third Democrat in the race, Braddock Mayor John Fetterman.
"I'd just like to thank Pat Toomey for his endorsement," Fetterman said in an email sent by an aide.
The site represents a new level of aggression for an incumbent who until now has largely tried to stay above the Democratic fray, projecting confidence in his own chances and leaving the challengers to compete outside of the spotlight.
The site is one measure of how much of a fight he faces to hold his seat. Democrats are hoping that a presidential surge helps them take the Senate seat in a state that could help decide control of the chamber.
McGinty's campaign accused Toomey of distorting her record, while levelling its own attack.
"The person that has done the worst for Pennsylvania families is Sen. Pat Toomey," wrote McGinty spokeswoman Sabrina Singh. "Gimmicks and flashy websites won't hide Toomey's abysmal record on rolling back women's rights, voting to make a college more expensive for Pennsylvania students and voting to privatize Social Security and Medicare."
A Sestak spokesman said: "While Pat Toomey, a sitting Senator, is focused on making a misleading website based on twisting people's names, Admiral Joe Sestak's website is focused on the people he served, with videos from the mother of a child Joe helped save from a life-threatening disease to a double-amputee Iraq War veteran."