- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Former Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania, who defied party leaders’ wishes by running in and winning a 2010 primary against former Sen. Arlen Spector, said Wednesday he’s running for U.S. Senate again in 2016, providing Democrats another big name as they look to play offense on a favorable map and re-take control of the chamber. 

Mr. Sestak kicked off his campaign by walking to Philadelphia’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial as part of a 422-mile journey across the state and a campaign slogan of “Joe Sestak is walking in your shoes,” according to the AP.

Should Mr. Sestak secure the party’s nomination, it would be a re-match of the general election contest in 2010, when he narrowly lost to GOP Sen. Pat Toomey.

Mr. Sestak’s official bid follows recent Senate campaign announcements from Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander and former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, who Democrats are banking on running tough races against first-term GOP Sens. Roy Blunt and Rob Portman, respectively.

But Mr. Sestak, a former three-star admiral who served as a congressman from 2007-2011, is a bit more of a controversial figure within the Democratic party - in part because of his challenge to the late Mr. Specter, a Republican-turned-Democrat who had President Obama’s support.

“The only person calling for an encore performance from Congressman Joe Sestak in 2016 is Congressman Joe Sestak,” said Andrea Bozek, a spokeswoman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC). “Pennsylvania families already rejected his partisan agenda in 2010 and now even Democrat leaders are calling for anyone-but-Sestak on the 2016 ticket.”

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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