Two House Democrats look ready to stage Senate primary challenges in 2010—even if the White House doesn’t like it, Politico reports. Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania says a presidential intervention wouldn’t change his mind about a run against Arlen Specter; New York’s Carolyn Maloney is “way past” concern for what the president thinks, says her likely strategist, as she targets Kirsten Gillibrand’s seat.
Obama’s support for incumbents, some note, runs counter to his own image as the anti-party-establishment candidate. “It’s hard for them to argue with this when they blazed the trail,” says the Maloney advocate. If Obama presses Sestak, the congressman will cite Obama’s message of opportunity: “I know, Mr. President, that you wouldn’t want … to foreclose the opportunity for Pennsylvanians to have a choice.”