Former GOP Senator Hagel to Endorse Democrat Sestak in PA

Aug 23, 2010 2:48pm

ABC's Z. Byron Wolf reports:

There is a notable endorsement in the Pennsylvania Senate race today. Former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel, a respected voice on defense issues, will endorse Pennsylvania Democrat Joe Sestak at an event in Pittsburgh on Tuesday.

A Republican endorsing a Democrat this year, when Republicans have the wind it their backs, is a novelty. But this particular endorsement is not as surprising at it might seem. 

Leading up to retirement from the Senate after the 2008 election, Hagel became increasingly frustrated with his party over the Iraq war. He was vocal in his opposition to the Iraq surge. He was one of two Republicans to vote in favor of a timeline to withdraw troops from Iraq.

Hagel’s wife endorsed President Obama against John McCain in 2008 (Hagel himself did not endorse either candidate). And Hagel sits on the President’s Intelligence Advisory board. Hagel and Sestak, a former admiral, traveled overseas together when Sestak was a Congressman and Hagel was a Senator.

While Hagel is a good fit with Sestak on defense issues, he is a spending hawk. It will be interesting to see at the event where Hagel officially endorses Sestak, how much talk there is about the spiraling debt.

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