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Toomey's Triumph

Inside a Key Senate Campaign

Harold Gullan

Publication Year: 2012

The 2010 Pennsylvania Senate election provided high drama from the earliest days of its primary campaigns right through Election Day. After long-time incumbent Arlen Specter was eliminated, the race boiled down to two fresh faces—Pat Toomey and Joe Sestak. Their battle constitutes a microcosm of the political divide that characterizes contemporary American politics.

Veteran writer Hal Gullan obtained special access to the Toomey campaign early on. Toomey's Triumph offers both that inside look and a Philadelphian's reflections of a riveting election. Gullan's astute month-by-month narrative distills the events of the year-long battles through the high drama and the day-to-day of grassroots organizing and campaigning. He describes how the candidates appear, what they say, and how the media pundits respond to their various gambits. He provides wry observations on the efficacy of each candidate's campaign ads and strategies, and he analyzes the up-and-down polls.

Toomey's Triumph provides an engaging chronicle of a critical campaign.

Published by: Temple University Press


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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii-viii

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Preface: Where I’m Coming From

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pp. ix-xii

I don’t quite remember my first kiss. However, I do recall my first significant election. It was for student-body president of my then all-boys high school. On the one hand, my opponent, Tom Swanson, demonstrably superior to me in every way, was unfortunately no politician. ...

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1. Prelude: March 2010

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pp. 1-10

When you read this, you’ll have an advantage. You will know who won. As I begin to write, however, I’m not even sure who’s running. That the Republican candidate for the United States Senate from Pennsylvania in 2010 will be forty-eight-year-old Patrick Joseph Toomey, Sr., of Zionsville in the Lehigh Valley is the only certainty. ...

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2. Three Paths to April

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pp. 11-46

Back in the day when rhetoric still reigned in political discourse, mellifluous Senator Everett McKinley Dirksen of Illinois nominated Barry Goldwater for president as the personification of America’s boundless possibilities: “the peddler’s grandson.” He repeated it so often it rather embarrassed many in the Republican assemblage, ...

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3. Setting the Table: May

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pp. 47-72

On May 1, at the downtown Philadelphia studios of Fox 29, all was being readied for the only televised debate between Arlen Specter and Joe Sestak. Whether by means of makeup or simply because of the zest of combat, Senator Specter came on camera looking better, and younger, than I had seen him in years. ...

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4. “Nothing Inappropriate Happened”: June

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pp. 73-90

While Toomey and Sestak each took a brief break from intensive campaigning over the Memorial Day weekend, a degree of bipartisanship had actually been achieved half a continent away. But at what a price. The disaster dominating the news spawned frustrated fervor throughout and beyond the bayous and parishes of Louisiana, ...

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5. The 80 Percent Solution: July

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pp. 91-118

Back in the darkest days of World War II , a popular Mutual radio commentator named Gabriel Heatter used to start off every broadcast with the upbeat salutation, “Good evening, everybody—there is good news tonight!” It might only be the downing of a single Zero, but wasn’t that good news, implying better news to come? ...

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6. Maintaining Momentum: August

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pp. 119-160

The first person I saw on television was myself—at the New York World’s Fair of 1939–1940 in a demonstration of one of the wonders to come in the “World of Tomorrow,” projected to arrive by 1960. And indeed, by the time FCC chairman Newton Minow labeled television a “vast wasteland” in 1961, ...

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7. Seeking the Summit: September

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pp. 161-180

Why isn’t this escalator going up? Hasn’t it been only a matter of months since everyone from professors Madonna and Borick to Hardball’s Chris Matthews was touting this race as the most riveting in the nation? They could hardly wait to see it unfold. Here were these two “good men,” as Pat Toomey’s early ad put it, ...

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8. Driving It Home: October

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pp. 181-206

I always thought Groundhog Day was in February. So why do I keep being reminded of that movie here in October? Does déjà vu haunt the Philadelphia Inquirer under its new ownership? From her photo, longtime columnist Monica Yant Kinney doesn’t look very much like longtime columnist Karen Heller. ..

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9. Toomsday: November 2, 2010

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pp. 207-228

The morning was clear and crisp—bracing, as the weathercasters say. Some sunlight, not too cold, no sign of precipitation in the air or in the forecasts. Despite their lofty sentiments, I can imagine some Republican strategists would have preferred a monsoon in Philadelphia,. ...


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pp. 229-232

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About the Author

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Dr. Harold I. Gullan is a historian whose books include The Upset That Wasn’t: Harry S. Truman and the Crucial Election of 1948, Jumping Through Hoops: Why Penn Wins, and First Fathers: The Men Who Inspired Our Presidents.

E-ISBN-13: 9781439908372
Print-ISBN-13: 9781439908358

Page Count: 256
Illustrations: 14
Publication Year: 2012

OCLC Number: 824359860
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Subject Headings

  • United States. Congress. Senate -- Elections, 2010.
  • Political campaigns -- Pennsylvania -- History -- 21st century.
  • Elections -- Pennsylvania -- History -- 21st century.
  • Toomey, Pat.
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