Katie McGinty Defeats Joe Sestak In Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Primary

Democrats pounded the progressive in the race, hoping they can pick up a Senate seat from Republicans in November.
Katie McGinty won Pennsylvania's Democratic Senate primary.
Katie McGinty won Pennsylvania's Democratic Senate primary.

Katie McGinty defeated former Rep. Joe Sestak in the Pennsylvania Democratic primary to determine who will challenge Republican Pat Toomey for his Senate seat in November.

McGinty, who served as chief of staff to Gov. Tom Wolf (D), received a rare endorsement from President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, who do not usually proclaim sides in Democratic races. Biden campaigned with McGinty in Philadelphia this week.

McGinty also defeated John Fetterman, the mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania, who faced off with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee during his campaign.

The DSCC and Emily's List spent heavily in the race, investing at least $4 million to back McGinty, who spent an additional $3 million of her own money. Sestak spent $3 million in the race, while Fetterman spent around $600,000.
Polls had McGinty closing the gap amid all that spending, after Sestak had led most of the way. The last public polls had them tied, with Fetterman trailing far behind.

Democrats see Toomey's seat as one they can pick up in November.

McGinty wound up winning with 43 percent of the vote, against 33 percent for Sestak and 19 percent for Fetterman, despite the large spending advantage.

Fetterman noted the money disparity in conceding the contest.

"I refuse to accept the premise that fundraising is the most important qualification for running and holding office," Fetterman said. "Politics should be a competition of ideas and experience. Instead it’s become the world’s most dysfunctional telethon."

While McGinty will carry the party's banner in the fall, Fetterman took heart in out-performing the polls and the party's financial advantage.

"We have started a progressive movement here in Pennsylvania. It’s not going away. We’re not going away. This isn’t over. This is not how our story ends," he said.

This Story was updated to include final results and comments from Fetterman.

Michael McAuliff contributed reporting.



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