Specter’s specter lingers in Pennsylvania

The race for the seat of Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Arlen Specter (R…then D) began with a high-profile primary where Joe Sestak thumped the newly re-minted Democrat by 10 points. But that primary proved to be very expensive for Sestak, who spent down his campaign funds and got caught in the middle of a brouhaha over the White House’s alleged job offer to get him out of the race. While Sestak’s win was decisive,  the former Navy Admiral and current Member of Congress has since been kept dancing to the tune of his opponent, Republican Pat Toomey, who has proved to be a marksman when it comes to shooting at Sestak’s feet.

Congressman Toomey is a former head of the fiscally conservative Club for Growth, and by all accounts has been running a textbook campaign thus far. Despite carrying the public perception baggage of being a former derivatives trader–not the kind of background that gives off a warm and fuzzy aura in a recession where Wall Street shenanigans have been targeted as a major culprit–local accounts of the race have Democratic operatives admitting that Toomey’s campaign has consistently been keeping Sestak “on his heels.” However, Sestak has been up against some steep odds before, so this one is a long way from being over.

Let’s see what the latest poll numbers in race show:

Pennsylvania Senate

Date of Poll: 8/4/2010
Participants: 1,000 registered voters
Margin of Error: ±3.10%
(R) Pat Toomey47.55%17.71%81.07%38.59%
(D) Joe Sestak34.93%63.02%9.46%30.43%

Toomey’s lead is being fueled by a combination of an eight-point advantage among Independents and a sizable chunk of Democrats who are buying into his message. His ability to keep Sestak playing defense will undoubted be put to the test as the campaign progresses, though. This one will get revisited by We Ask America as we get closer to November 2.