VIDEO: Sestak thanks the grassroots (again) for PA-Sen Straw Poll support.

by: AdamGreen

Tue May 12, 2009 at 14:11

If there was ever a doubt that committed activists could shake things up and make a difference, let the recent grassroots PA-Sen Straw Poll stand as an example in your mind.

The problem: Political insiders were dominating the contours of the PA-Sen primary, trying to clear the field for Arlen Specter. The grassroots had no meaningful voice.

The solution: A Straw Poll supported by tons of national and state progressive actors -- where thousands of activists could weigh in on whether the most talked-about potential challenger was good enough to be drafted.

The theory of change: By creating one place where the public, political insiders, and the media could look to see the grassroots discontent with Specter and the level of support for Joe Sestak, progressives could alter the environment in which potential challengers made their decision about whether to run -- and alter the media dialogue to make the idea of a primary challenge less far-fetched.

Below are over 35 media stories and blog posts about the Straw Poll's launch and the final results -- personally, I'm most thrilled with all the local media coverage. 

And John Morgan of The Pennsylvania Progressive (a Straw Poll partner) got some video of Sestak talking about our collective impact. Thanks to all who partnered and voted and believed that we could alter the political terrain together.


AdamGreen :: VIDEO: Sestak thanks the grassroots (again) for PA-Sen Straw Poll support.

Sestak Poll resultsANNOUNCEMENT OF POLL RESULTS (5/11/09)


PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Sestak's netroots support

PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER BLOG: Online poll: Huge majorities favor Sestak run for Senate

PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW: Primary may yet trip up Specter

HARRISBURG PATRIOT NEWS: Poll tells Sestak to 'Run, Joe, run!'

DELAWARE COUNTY TIMES: Poll shows support for Sestak Senate bid


POLITICO: Joe Sestak urged to challenge Arlen Specter

HOTLINE: Draft Sestak?

ABC'S RICK KLEIN: Twitters about Poll Results

HUFFINGTON POST: Specter Faces Revolt From Pennsylvania Progressives, Poll Finds

WESPAC: Sestak thanks voters in grassroots Straw Poll

DIGBY: And now a word from Joe Sestak

DAILY KOS: Sestak thanks voters in netroots Straw Poll -- new draft fund announced.

SENATE GURU: PA-Sen: Netroots Overwhelmingly Support a Draft Sestak Effort

SCOOP 44: Grassroots Poll: “Run, Sestak, Run”

OPEN LEFT: Sestak thanks voters in grassroots Straw Poll -- new draft fund announced.

LAUNCH OF STRAW POLL (5/6/09-5/10/09)



HARRISBURG PATRIOT NEWS: Poll asks if Sestak should challenge Specter

PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Mentions launch of Sestak Straw Poll

WHYY - PA PUBLIC RADIO: Intrigue continues in PA senate race

DELAWARE COUNTY TIMES (PA): News Sestak still noncommittal on 2010 Senate run


YOUNG PHILLY POLITICS: Netroots Straw Poll: Should We Draft Joe Sestak?

THE PENNSYLVANIA PROGRESSIVE: Last Chance to Vote in Draft Joe Sestak Straw Poll

2 POLITICAL JUNKIES: Sestak Straw Poll

YOUNG PHILLY POLITICS: Last Call For Straw Votes


POLITICO: Poll to test Sestak Netroots support

NBC's FIRST READ: Excerpt:

"[Specter's] remarks have infuriated the liberal blogosphere, which is now conducting a straw poll to determine whether there should be a Draft Joe Sestak movement to challenge Specter in a Dem primary."

ABC's THE NOTE: Specter Learns the Democratic Ropes. Excerpt:

Today, a coalition of progressive groups and blogs -- including Daily Kos, Open Left, and Democracy for America -- is sponsoring an online "straw poll" asking a simple question:

"Should a Draft Sestak movement be created to take on Sen. Arlen Specter in the Pennsylvania Democratic primary?"

DAILY KOS: Big Grassroots Straw Poll: Draft Sestak Against Specter?

DIGBY: Draft Sestak?

SENATE GURU: PA-Sen: A Draft Sestak Effort?

CROOKSANDLIARS: Should we draft Sestak to take on Arlen Specter? Take the Sestak Straw Poll

DOWN WITH TYRANNY: Please Help Us Decide-- Should DWT Help Draft Joe Sestak To Primary Snarlin' Arlen?

THE SEMINAL: PA-Sen: Draft Sestak?

AFRICAN AMERICAN POLITICAL PUNDIT: "Should a Draft Sestak movement be created to take on Sen. Arlen Specter in the Pennsylvania Democratic primary?"

ANDERSON @ LARGE: Specter of Defeat?

SCOOP 44: Specter Finds Politics Tricky on Both Sides of Party Line

AFRO-NETIZEN: Afro-Netizen joins PCCC in testing the waters for a Democratic challenger to Sen. Arlen Specter


If Sestak runs, he automatically gets donations to the draft fund, giving him a boost. If he doesn't, funds in that account go to ActBlue -- a vital piece of progressive infrastructure that has revolutionized people-power campaigning by making online contributions to Democrats easy. (Thanks, ActBlue!)

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Sestak A Progressive? (4.00 / 1)
Explain to me how Sestak is a progressive voice for our party?  He is a good fit for his district, but personally I find it hard to get excited about him at all.  Personally I didn't vote in the Straw Poll because I am interesting in seeing a Democratic Primary, but cannot get excited about Sestak.

I don't think that the poll indicates a desire to primary Specter, but would have had a similar result with Generic Democrat.

My job is not to represent Washington to you, but to represent you to Washington- Obama
Philly for Obama

Damn right (0.00 / 0)
I wouldn't think anything amiss if we had a thoughtful article on why we should probably plan to give some weight to the campaign of Sestak, a man who, according to DW-NOMINATE, lies halfway between Bob Casey and the Republican Party.

But instead, we have a screaming PR campaign for Joe Sestak, touting the slightest coverage of this conservative Democrat in all caps, and I think it's unseemly.

Of course he's thanking us...and laughing all the way to the bank!

[ Parent ]
Sestak may not be progressive, but he's better than Specter (4.00 / 1)
Sestak supports EFCA, cramdown, cap and trade, and the public healthcare option. He also is a good fundraiser and a good candidate. Are there better democrats who could run? Yes, but PA is a very expensive state, and we need someone who has good fundraising to beat Specter.

This race would have national implications, it would allow PA to shed it's machine state reputation, and it would begin to make the democratic party more democratic. If Sestak wins, it could also convince Obama to put political capital into EFCA.

[ Parent ]
Wasn't there another guy? (0.00 / 0)
Wasn't there someone else who was also considering running against Specter?  If so, what happened to him?

His name is (0.00 / 0)
Joe Torsella, and he's just as unworthy of excitement as Sestak.

[ Parent ]
Follow up point (4.00 / 1)
I do think in general that we need to let Dem leadership know that they do not get to "clear the field" for primaries.  That whole idea is so sadly un-democratic as well as short-sighted from a partisan perspective that I don't even know where to begin. And in order to really make that case the contest has to be legitimate, and it sounds like Sestak will be legit, so that part is good ....

but again, wasn't there another guy?

Sestak (4.00 / 1)
 live in PA.  Sestak voted for telecom immunity.  Comes off like an oily liar.  Can't we get a better Democrat?

The answer would appear to be no (0.00 / 0)
Pennsylvania's representatives and state-wide officials are not very progressive as a group. And nobody else has the profile or the money to mount a campaign against Specter.

Sestak isn't great, but with netroots support he needs to move a little left and he'd be more beholden to us than Specter ever will be. I don't think Sestak will vote as well as Gillibrand, but there's every reason to assume he'll begin to start voting like Casey in the Senate.

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[ Parent ]

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