Former U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak, the subject of considerable speculation in Pennsylvania's political community for months, today announced a new bid for the U.S. Senate in 2016. That would be a re-match against U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, the Republican who defeated Sestak in 2010. It also means Sestak won't be a player in the 2014 Democratic primary election for governor.
Sestak, a former U.S. Navy admiral, dons the flight jacket he wore often on the campaign trail and stands in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia for a video announcing his new Leadership for a Better America effort.
Sestak decries what he sees at the U.S. Senate's "lack of leadership and lack of accountability in not confronting our challenges." He complains that has meant the country "careens from crisis to crisis, paralyzing the governing of our nation."
As he speaks, headlines about gridlock in the federal budget and battles about raising the national debit ceiling flash across the screen.
"That's why today we're launching a campaign for leadership, for a better America. I want to begin that change starting right here in Pennsylvania," Sestak says. "The Senate needs a leader accountable to only we the people, not any other interests."
Sestak spokesman Edwin Wee the video's timing had nothing to do with Rob Gleason, chairman of the Pennsylvania Republican Party, who filed a complaint Friday with the Federal Elections Commission. Gleason claimed that Sestak was required to file a notice of candidacy for the 2014 election cycle, since he has raised more than $460,000 in campaign contributions since Jan. 1.
Wee said the video was shot last week. Wee also repeated that the FEC advised Sestak that he did not have to file candidacy papers since his political action committee is "exploratory."