Sestak Beats Arlen Specter

Democratic challenger beats longtime incumbent
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 18, 2010 9:28 PM CDT
Sestak Beats Arlen Specter
Rep. Joe Sestak, D-Pa., speaks to the media before casting his vote in Gradyville, Pa., Tuesday.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Arlen Specter goes down. Democratic voters in Pennsylvania picked Rep. Joe Sestak as the party's nominee for the Senate, denying the 80-year-old Specter his bid for a sixth term. Specter said he called Sestak to congratulate him and offer his support in the fall election against Republican Pat Toomey. The vote was a defeat for President Obama, who supported Specter when he abandoned the GOP last year and switched parties, though the president avoided making a personal appearance at crunch time.

The moderate Specter had cast his switch as a decision of principle after inflaming the GOP by voting for Obama's economic stimulus bill. But many Democratic voters questioned his motives, saying it was simply a matter of political survival. Specter has been a fixture in American politics for three decades and has served in the Senate since 1981. (Read more Arlen Specter stories.)

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