Here in Pennsylvania, the Democratic State Committee met yesterday in Lancaster. The committee endorsed Senator Arlen Specter for a sixth term in the Senate.
Reporters from The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote a cute lead-in to their story about the event. They surmised that many Democrats would wait until hell freezes over, before they would back Specter, who won his first five Senate elections on the Republican ticket. But this weekend, as a major winter storm hit this area, it was close enough for them.
Specter won 77% of the votes (a two-thirds majority is required for endorsement) over Congressman Joe Sestak.
The process is somewhat similar to the Minnesota endorsement procedure that I described here. The party endorsement does not put a candidate onto the general election ballot, but it gives the endorsed candidate greater credibility going into the primary which, in Pennsylvania, will be held on May 18. All indications are that Sestak will still contest the primary, but the endorsement confirms what the polls have been showing, which is that Specter is a heavy favorite.
The Democrats didn't endorse a candidate for governor, in the close multi-candidate race that I described here. Auditor General Jack Wagner won slightly more than 50% of the vote, so he can't officially claim endorsement, but it might turn him into a front runner for the primary. Don Onorato, who is county executive of Allegheny County, the seat of which is Pittsburgh, finished second.