Sestak Throwing His Hat in the Ring

Hot scoop from Brian Beutler who reports that Rep Joe Sestak (D-PA) is readying a primary challenge against Arlen Specter (D-PA):

Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA) is privately telling supporters that he intends to run for Senate, TPMDC has confirmed.

“He intends to get in the race,” says Meg Infantino, the Congressman’s sister, who works at Sestak for Congress. “In the not too distant future, he will sit down with his wife and daughter to make the final decision.”

Party leaders, and especially outfits like the DSCC, tend to be highly primary averse. But I think there’s little in the way of solid evidence that primaries are bad for a political party. Of course under certain circumstances primary challenges can be destructive — as when a party’s base demands ideological orthodoxy in a district or state that an orthodox candidate can’t win — but neither Sestak nor Specter is a down-the-line liberal, and Pennsylvania’s a left-of-center state so from a progressive point of view it strikes me as desirable that there be some competition for the nomination.