- Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call
Who is Joe Sestak?
Current job: Former candidate for president.
Family: Sestak is married to Susan Clark-Sestak, and together they have a daughter Alex.
Hometown: Springfield, Pennsylvania.
Political party: Democratic.
Previous jobs: Former congressman, retired three-star navy admiral.
Update: Joe Sestak dropped out of 2020 race on December 1, 2019.
Who is Joe Sestak’s direct competition for the nomination?
Based on a recurring series of national surveys we conduct, we can figure out who the other candidates competing in Sestak’s lane are, and who the broader opponents are within the party.
INSIDER has been conducting a recurring poll through SurveyMonkey Audience on a national sample to find out how different candidate’s constituencies overlap. We ask people whether they are familiar with a candidate, whether they would be satisfied or unsatisfied with that candidate as nominee, and sometimes we also ask whether they think that person would win or lose in a general election against President Donald Trump.
Sestak has not reached the level of prominence to be included in this poll.
What are Joe Sestak’s policy positions?
- On healthcare:
- Sestak supports making healthcare “a right,” citing how the American healthcare system saved his daughter’s life when she was battling brain cancer.
- The former Pennsylvania congressman voted to pass the Affordable Care Act in 2010 and is calling to add a public option as a pathway to universal healthcare coverage. He also backed it when the ACA was originally being designed in Congress.
- Sestak proposes allowing Medicare to negotiate directly with the pharmaceutical industry to lower costs. He also wants to make it easier to import cheaper drugs from Canada.
- On immigration:
- When it comes to a pathway to citizenship, Sestak supports creating one for undocumented immigrants albeit with plenty of strings attached. He says they should first pay back taxes, pass a criminal background check, prove they have “gainful employment” and take an English test.
- Sestak wants to combine comprehensive immigration reform with border security in the form of additional drones and sensors.
- On climate change:
- Sestak would have the US rejoin the Paris climate agreement.
- In Congress, Sestak voted for the “cap and trade” bill in 2009 that would have established a system to limit carbon emissions.
- On campaign finance:
- Sestak wants to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision to reduce the influence of money in politics.
- On abortion:
- Sestak backs federal legislation to protect abortion access nationwide if the Supreme Court reversed its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.
- On LGBTQ rights:
- Sestak’s campaign website says that transgender soldiers should be allowed to serve in the military. “If they are called to join and serve in the military, we should welcome them with open arms – and a customary salute – not a cold shoulder,” it says.
- Sestak authored a 2015 op-ed in the Times Leader newspaper calling to enact new federal protections from discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation for workers or home buyers.
- On education:
- The former Pennsylvania congressman wants to expand early childhood education for all children beginning at the age of four.
- Sestak backs Common Core standards to better measure students’ progress, but his campaign website the current system is problematic for students in lower grade levels.
- He also favors restructuring federal student loans to remove the government’s profit incentive.
- On guns:
- Sestak is pushing for “common sense gun laws” that include restoring the assault weapons ban and closing the gun-show loophole that allows people to avoid background checks when they buy weapons at gun shows.
- He also wants to create a national background check system that’s more effective.
- Sestak favors improving access to mental health care services as a way to reduce gun deaths.
- On trade:
- The former congressman supports rejoining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, though he wants to improve on it to “ensure it serves our people, not merely our corporations.”
- On foreign policy:
- Sestak entered the presidential race by pitching his extensive foreign policy experience. He served in the military from 1974 to 2005, including as President Bill Clinton’s director of defense policy on the National Security Council.
- He wants to expand US international engagement, take an assertive stance against adversaries like China and Russia, and strengthen American capabilities in cyberspace.
- “We need a President who understands the limitations of our military and the challenges we face globally. I believe my experience makes me uniquely qualified to lead,” Sestak has tweeted.
- In an op-ed for the Des Moines Register, Sestak called the Trump administration’s decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal “a huge strategic mistake.” He added: “It makes negotiating disarmament with other countries – such as North Korea – immeasurably more difficult, because those countries now have every reason to suspect we will not uphold our side of any bargain.
- On taxes:
- Sestak proposes “rolling back at least half” the Trump corporate tax cuts, but to keep rates lower than before 2017.
What are Joe Sestak’s political successes?
- Sestak won a swing congressional district in the 2006 Democratic wave election, going on to serve in the House of Representatives until 2010.
- Democratic House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer named Sestak “the most productive freshman member” of Congress in 2007, with 19 pieces of his legislation passing the House – including $29 million in the defense budget to treat autism in military families.
How much money has Joe Sestak raised?
He has not filed any campaign finance reports with the Federal Election Commission since entering the presidential race on June 23.
Could Joe Sestak beat Donald Trump?
INSIDER doesn’t have enough polling data available.