Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA), a former Navy admiral, says the White House offered him a position in the administration to get him out of the Pennsylvania Senate race, where he's running a primary campaign against incumbent Sen. Arlen Specter (D).
On Larry Kane's talk show on Comcast, Sestak was asked if he had been offered a job.
"Yes," Sestak replied, without elaborating.
Kane asked him if the job in question was Navy secretary. "No comment," Sestak said.
Asked again if he was offered a big job in the administration, Sestak said, "Yes...someone offered [me a job]...I'd certainly not comment on it."
Sestak told Kane that he "would never get out [of his Senate race] for a deal."
A job offer doesn't appear necessary, at this point: Specter leads Sestak by an average margin of 52.5 percent to 30 percent--though a shifting political landscape, with some progressives (who would back Sestak) upset with the administration, might change the dynamics of that race.
Democrats also don't appear to have a huge advantage with Specter as their candidate: though the longtime senator would seem to be more of a frontrunner, on average he and Sestak both trail Republican Pat Toomey by around eight percentage points, though Specter would enter the general election with wider name recognition and more established standing. Perhaps more importantly, Specter gave Democrats their less-than-one-year-long Senate supermajority by defecting from the GOP--so Democrats probably feel they owe him something.
This might not be the first time the Obama White House has tried to game
its legislative majorities through appointments: there were rumblings
in the fall that Andrew Romanoff, the primary challenger to Sen.
Michael Bennet (D-CO), was offered a job, and the attempt to appoint
Senate Budge Committee Ranking Member Judd Gregg (R-NH) as Commerce
secretary was viewed by some as a shot at getting 60 Senate votes when Gregg was replaced.