Joe Sestak

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Joe Sestak
Congressman Sestak Official Congressional headshot.jpg
U.S. Senate
Potential Candidate
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 2, 2010
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
7th Congressional District of Pennsylvania
2007 - 2011
High schoolCardinal O'Hara
Bachelor'sNaval Academy (1974)
Master'sHarvard University
Ph.D.Harvard University
Military service
Service/branchU.S. Navy
Years of serviceJune 1974 – January 2006
Date of birthDecember 12, 1951
ReligionRoman Catholic
Personal website
Joe Sestak (b. December 12, 1951) is a former member of the U.S. House representing the 7th Congressional District of Pennsylvania from 2007-2011 and the 2010 Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate. He lost to Sen. Pat Toomey (R) in the general election on November 2, 2010.[1]

Sestak considered a run for Governor of Pennsylvania in the 2014 elections, but ultimately decided against it. In May 2013, Sestak announced that he was forming an exploratory committee for U.S. Senate in 2016, when incumbent GOP Sen. Pat Toomey will first go up for re-election. Toomey narrowly defeated Sestak for the Senate seat in the 2010 general election, and Sestak intends to stage a rematch.[2]


Sestak served in the United States Navy from June 1974 through January 2006. During that time he served as Director of Anti-Terrorism and became a three-star Admiral. From November 1994 through March 1997 he was Director of Defense Policy for the National Security Council. In 2006 he was elected to represent Pennsylvania's 7th Congressional District, where he served until 2011.[3]


  • Cardinal O'Hara High School
  • Bachelor's of Science - United States Naval Academy (1974)
  • Master's in Public Administration - Harvard University
  • Ph.D in Political Economy and Government - Harvard University[4]



Sestak announced in May 2013 that he is exploring a second bid for U.S. Senate in 2016, having lost the election in 2010 to Republican Pat Toomey.[2]

U.S. Senate race 2016 - Hypothetical match-up poll
Poll Joe Sestak Pat ToomeyUndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Quinnipiac University Poll
(May 30-June 4, 2013)
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to


See also: Pennsylvania gubernatorial election, 2014

Sestak was considered a likely Democratic candidate for the 2014 gubernatorial election in Pennsylvania, but he ultimately decided to pass on the race for a chance at the U.S. Senate in 2016.[5][1][6]


Sestak ran for United States Senate in 2010. He was defeated by Pat Toomey (R) in the general election on November 2, 2010.[7]

U.S. Senate, Pennsylvania General Election, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngPat Toomey 51% 2,028,945
     Democratic Joe Sestak 49% 1,948,716
Total Votes 3,977,661

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