Last week, Joe Sestak announced he would be skipping a scheduled debate with Pat Toomey tonight due to “scheduling conflicts.” Despite not yet formally debating with Toomey during this general election season, Sestak has opted instead to hold a fundraiser in Western Pennsylvania:
Pittsburgh pickle heiress Teresa Heinz and her husband, U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., are hosting a fundraiser for Joe Sestak, Democrat nominee for U.S. Senate.
Tickets for the VIP reception run as much as $2,400, while tickets to the general reception that follows can be had for a relatively paltry $500.
Among those who will attend, according to an invitation for the event: Steelers great Franco Harris and his son, former Pittsburgh mayoral candidate Franco “Dok” Harris; Pittsburgh Public Schools board member William Isler; UPMC lobbyist and Gov. Ed Rendell pal Leslie Merrill McCombs; Thorp Reed & Armstrong partner Clifford Levine; and Reed Smith attorney Dusty Kirk.
This news comes on the heels of speculation that Sestak had ducked the debate, which was to be sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, in response to public criticism from the group. Sestak is down between 5-10 points depending on the poll.
Last Monday, Sestak appeared with President Obama in Philadelphia for a private fundraiser that netted at least $500,000, while Toomey raised north of $50,000 in an online giving drive the same day.