Sestak Raises $442K In First Quarter

Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA), who is challenging Republican-turned-Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter in the Dem primary, raised only a fraction of Specter’s haul in the first quarter. However, Sestak still has enough money on hand to potentially makes things competitive for the May 18 primary.

Sestak raised $442,000 in the first three months of 2010, and has $5.3 million on hand, compared to Specter’s $1.16 million for the quarter, and $9 million on hand. The TPM Poll Average gives Specter a lead of 44.7%-29.6% in the Democratic primary.

Specter was first elected to the Senate as a Republican in 1980, and served for 28 years as a moderate Republican. He was challenged from the right for the GOP nomination in 2004 by then-Rep. Pat Toomey, and won by only a 51%-49% margin. In 2009, Specter provided a crucial vote to pass President Obama’s stimulus package, and he subsequently switched parties when polls showed he would lose a primary rematch against Toomey.