Katie McGinty Launches Senate Campaign

She'll face Joe Sestak for the right to challenge Republican incumbent Pat Toomey.

As expected, Democrat Katie McGinty launched her campaign for U.S. Senate today, two weeks after stepping down from her post as Gov. Tom Wolf’s chief of staff, re-introducing herself in a web video where she promises to fight for working Pennsylvania families.

“I will be a Senator who believes in Pennsylvania’s promise and I’ll work to make us the manufacturing and technology powerhouse we know we can be,” she said.

McGinty was wooed by senior party leaders to make the run against Joe Sestak, a former Navy admiral who lost in 2010 against the GOP incumbent Pat Toomey. Sestak has been out of favor since that race, after he challenged and defeated then-incumbent Democrat Arlen Specter — the preferred candidate of Democratic leaders — for the right to take on Toomey.

McGinty, on the other hand, has proven herself to be a team player in party politics: She was a rival to Wolf for the Democratic nomination, but campaigned vigorously for him after he won the primary. She was named chief of staff shortly after he beat Tom Corbett in the general election.

Republicans, though, suggested those features in her bio might be weaknesses on the campaign trail — particularly her decision to leave while state budget negotiations drag on.

“Pennsylvania Democrats are so dissatisfied with Congressman Joe Sestak’s candidacy that they are now placing their bets on someone who finished dead last in a four-way Democratic gubernatorial primary last year,” said Andrea Bozek, a spokeswoman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. “Her decision to pursue her own political ambitions instead of continuing to work to solve Pennsylvania’s budget problems is proof positive she values her own self interest above that of Pennsylvania’s interests.”

McGinty previously served as Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Energy under Governor Ed Rendell, and was chair of the federal Council on Environmental Quality under President Bill Clinton.

Follow @JoelMMathis on Twitter.