Joe Sestak

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Democrats in Pennsylvania chose their party establishment's choice for a U.S. Senate candidate and rejected an ex-congressman who six years ago nearly won the office.

Katie McGinty, who spent more than a decade as a state and federal environmental policy official, got millions of dollars from the party and its allies that helped her side heavily outspend her rivals. She received endorsements from top Democrats, from President Barack Obama on down.

Democratic Senate Candidates Spar Over Fracking

Apr 7, 2016
Matt Slocum / AP


The Democratic primary race for the U.S. Senate is heating up, and sparks are flying on a topic that’s always hot in Pennsylvania—fracking.

At a debate this week, Braddock Mayor John Fetterman and former congressman and Navy Vice Admiral Joe Sestak both tried to brand their opponent, Katie McGinty, as a friend of fracking.

They targeted McGinty’s record as former secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection under Governor Ed Rendell. She left the department in 2008, just as the fracking boom was getting started.

DBKING / Flickr

Pennsylvania's Democratic Party committee members went through a divisive process of buttonholing, cajoling and promising on Saturday but ultimately could not deliver endorsements in contested primary races for U.S. senator and state attorney general.  

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

The three democrats vying for a chance to challenge Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey discussed their stances on the issues at Carnegie Mellon University's candidate forum on Sunday.

John Fetterman

With just over three months to election day, Braddock Mayor John Fetterman will have to step up his fundraising efforts to catch up with his two Democratic primary rivals in Pennsylvania's U.S. Senate race.

Fetterman is running a populist campaign, and lately he's been trying to borrow some momentum from Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who's popularity is surging in Iowa.

Fetterman endorsed the socialist candidate earlier this week, and spoke about it Thursday night on Comedy Central's "The Nightly Show."

Braddock Mayor Enters U.S. Senate Primary

Sep 14, 2015
Erika Beras / 90.5 WESA

Braddock Mayor John Fetterman announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate during a mid-day house party Monday.

“I would never pander to you by saying that I alone can fundamentally change Washington D.C. anymore than I could bring back the 14 furniture stores that Braddock once had,” he said,” But what I can promise you is that I will fight in a principled, collaborative way that my 14 years of service here in Braddock demonstrates.”

Essential Pittsburgh / WESA

Former congressman Joe Sestak is running for the U.S. Senate by walking. He's making a 422-mile trek across the state to better connect with Pennsylvanians. Joe Sestak joins us in Studio A for a talk about his plans to challenge Senator Pat Toomey and why the state's Democratic party doesn't want him to run.

Sestak comments on his opponent Senator Pat Toomey's action regarding Iran and the nuclear weapons issue:

"What I saw is the unrivaled respect that the presidency of the United States has as the foremost instrument to secure our freedoms and our security overseas. To actually have had Senator Toomey sign a letter that says disregard our presidency shows reckless abandon of the responsibilities of a Senator, it shows truly no experience in world affairs and it also shows a disregard for the security of America, placing politics above security." -- Joe Sestak

Also in this hour, a Pittsburgh artist's sketches of servicemen are finding their way back home and Louis Ortiz, star of the documentary "Bronx Obama" and the President's closest doppelganger visits for a screening of the film. 

Matt Rourke / Associated Press

Former U.S. Representative Joe Sestak began a 422-mile walk across Pennsylvania Wednesday to kick off his campaign to capture the U.S. Senate seat occupied by Republican Pat Toomey.

Sestak announced his candidacy for the 2016 election outside Philadelphia's Independence Hall. He called for more government accountability and decried the "trust deficit" between politicians and the people who elect them.

"I want to earn, starting today, step by step, walking in the shoes of we Pennsylvanians, the trust of our people," Sestak said. "So join me. Walk with me."

As Governor Tom Corbett gears up for the release of his 2014-15 budget proposal next month, Pennsylvania Democrats are disparaging cuts to higher education over the course of his tenure.

Total state spending on state-related higher education institutions dropped by 18% in 2011-12, and funding has remained flat since then.

Former U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he won't run for governor next year but is strongly considering a rematch against Republican Sen. Pat Toomey in 2016.

The Democrat told the AP in an interview that the U.S. Senate is racked by a lack of trust and "careening from crisis to crisis." The retired Navy vice admiral said he believes his skills would be more useful in the Senate instead of the governor's office.