If you haven't seen the link atop the Early Returns homepage, Jim O'Toole and I have a story today on the clear differences between Pat Toomey and Joe Sestak on energy and conservation, which echo from the Gulf to Pennsylvania's stake in Marcellus Shale:
Before the Deepwater Horizon spill, [Sestak] expressed reservations about the administration's decision to expand the areas available for offshore drilling. Mr. Sestak championed the House version of cap-and-trade legislation designed to use market forces to increase the costs of carbon emissions.
Those overlapping issues have provided ammunition for persistent sniping between the campaigns. "Toomey sides with Big Oil in the wake of BP disaster," the Democrat charged in one of the dueling press statements that the campaigns have exchanged in recent days. "On energy, Sestak to the left of many Democrats," a Toomey statement contended.
While the contrasts in their positions are for the most part fairly clear, the contenders have argued over where that leaves them on the overall political spectrum.
In a state with a significant Democratic registration edge, Mr. Sestak argues that Mr. Toomey's strict conservatism and aversion to government regulation -- on the environment as well as on the economy -- makes him the ideological outlier.
Mr. Toomey, on the other hand, characterizes Mr. Sestak's voting record as more liberal than the views of his state on energy as on other issues. On cap and trade, for example, the Republican notes that four of Mr. Sestak's colleagues in the House Democratic delegation voted against the bill. All of those Democratic "no" votes came from districts carried by Sen. John McCain in the 2008 presidential race.
Photo of Sestak/Toomey: Politico