Politics & Policy

Santorum: Sestak Shows ‘Real Weakness’ in Ducking Debate

Joe Sestak, down in the polls to Pat Toomey by between 5-10 points, depending on the poll, announced earlier this week that he would be skipping a scheduled debate, set for Monday, September 27. Sestak’s office cited a “scheduling conflict” as the cause for ducking out.

But in a race where literally tens of millions have helped saturate the airwaves with battling messages, packed with the type of heated rhetoric that often obfuscates as often as it clarifies, shouldn’t Joe Sestak be eager to engage in a straightforward, candid discussion with his opponent?

Battle ‘10 spoke with former Sen. Rick Santorum to get a sense of what could be motivating Sestak’s “scheduling conflict.”

“When you are behind you want to be on that stage, former Sen. Rick Santorum told Battle ‘10. “This shows real weakness on Joe’s part, a lack of confidence about his positioning on the big issues of the day.”

Mike Barley, director of communications for the Pennsylvania Republican Party, also weighed in on Sestak’s sudden withdrawal. “I guess I am not too surprised to see that Joe Sestak is reluctant to explain his extreme liberal record with the people of Pennsylvania,” Barley told Battle ‘10.

“I can only assume his campaign understands the more Joe Sestak is in front of the voters, the less likely they are to support his extreme liberal views on Election Day.”

The Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce was set to sponsor the debate. The Chamber has been critical of Sestak leading in to the general election.

Both Toomey and Sestak held a town-hall themed debate/discussion of health care earlier this year at Muhlenberg College, available here.

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