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Sestak preps for Toomey rematch in 2016

Call Washington Bureau

The Admiral is readying for a rematch.

Former U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak, who has played it coy since his narrow loss to Pat Toomey in the grueling 2010 Senate race, announced Tuesday morning by email that he's formed an exploratory committee to run again for the Senate in 2016.

The move means the Delaware County Democrat has ruled out running for governor in 2014, and that he's set his sights on going back to Washington.

If he runs, Sestak will be competing in a presidential year, which are traditionally more favorable to Democrats because of the party's voter registration advantage in the state. Toomey, however, has watched his approval ratings rise after his very public effort last month to strengthen background checks on gun sales.

Sestak was under pressure to announce his political intentions after the Pennsylvania Republican Party filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission that Sestak was raising money without disclosing what he was running for. The "Friends of Joe Sestak" account raised nearly a half a million dollars in the first three months of 2013.

The former Navy admiral, known for his frantic energy, ended the late Arlen Specter's 30-year career in a Democratic primary a year after Specter switched political parties. Sestak then ran a hyper aggressive general election campaign that brought him within two points of beating Toomey in a Republican wave year.

Updated: Toomey's 2010 campaign manager Mark Harris said in a statement, "Pat Toomey is focused on serving the people of Pennsylvania in the US Senate and hasn't even thought about an election three and a half years from now. He will continue working to build consensus and lead in Washington like he has on job creation, fiscal responsibility, and keeping America safe."

In announcing his plans to consider a run for Senate in three years, Sestak, wearing his signature green bomber jacket, released this video of him in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia:


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