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McGinty for Senate?

As noted above, last Wednesday, after a couple weeks of speculation and a courtship by national Democratic leaders, Governor Wolf’s Chief of Staff Kathleen McGinty resigned from her post.  McGinty is expected to announce she will challenge former US Rep. Joe Sestak for the Democratic nomination for the state’s US Senate seat in the 2016 primary. 

McGinty, 52, served as head of the Council on Environmental Quality during President Bill Clinton’s administration and then served as Secretary of Environmental Protection during the Rendell administration and through passage of the state’s renewable energy plan and bond issue.  After a stint with investment firms and still focused on environmental and energy issues, in 2014 she ran for the Democratic nomination for governor, finishing last in a four-candidate race, but maintained the respect of Democrats and has been recruited by the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee and Emily’s List in recent weeks.

She said that she will be talking with Democratic leaders, giving “serious consideration” to running for U.S. Senate and will make an announcement about her future soon.

Sestak was the Democratic nominee for the Senate in 2010, defeating incumbent Sen. Arlen Specter in the primary before losing to then-Congressman Pat Toomey, now seeking his second term as Pennsylvania’s junior senator.  Sestak has not gained the favor of the state and national Democratic leadership in the six years since he last ran against the organization as a maverick.

Sestak, meanwhile, took occasion this week to launch a pre-emptive strike at Sen. Toomey on renewable energy issues while pushing his own bona fides.