Dem Establishment's Favored Candidate Still Trailing in Pennsylvania

Katie McGinty
Katie McGinty / AP
January 28, 2016

A new poll out of Pennsylvania shows that the Democratic establishment's top pick to be the party's nominee for the state's Senate seat is still trailing Joe Sestak, the party's nominee in 2010 who lost to Pat Toomey.

Harper Polling found that just 28 percent of likely Democratic primary voters plan to vote for establishment darling Katie McGinty. Sestak received 33 percent of the vote.

Coming in third place with 11 percent was Braddock Mayor John Fetterman, who recently hitched his campaign to Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. Fetterman received the strongest levels of support from people who identify as "very liberal," but faces an uphill battle in terms of voter recognition—53 percent of voters still do not know who he is.

McGinty entered the most recent fundraising quarter in October with just under $900,000 in cash on hand while Sestak had over $2.4 million. Sestak had also already spent over $1.25 million on the election, compared to just $112,437 spent by McGinty.

McGinty was expected to get a money boost as she received a fundraising plea from Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) and endorsements from liberal heavyweight groups such as EMILY's List.

She announced earlier this month that she was able to raise an additional $980,000 last quarter but also that she spent a big chunk of it. Her cash on hand only rose by $300,000 to $1.2 million.

The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote that the haul was "less than political operatives expected, given her substantial backing from party leaders and labor unions."

Neither Sestak nor Fetterman have announced their fundraising totals for the most recent quarter, but both will be required to do so by the end of the month.

Toomey also has not announced his most recent fundraising haul, but he entered the quarter with nearly $10 million in cash on hand.