• Paul Steinhauser

Sestak concentrating on N.H. after storming ‘the beachhead of Iowa’

Retired three-star Vice Admiral Joe Sestak spoke at the New Hamshire Democratic Party Headquarters this week. —Courtesy

Retired three-star Vice Admiral Joe Sestak emphasized that military logistics dictated that he concentrate on Iowa – the state that kicks off the presidential nominating calendar – before campaigning in the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire, which votes second.

Sestak explained that job number one after launching his long-shot bid for the Democratic presidential nomination on June 23 was to “secure the beachhead of Iowa.”

“Then we move off the beach and we begin to march,”  Sestak said in an interview with the Monitor.

That march took him to New Hampshire, for his first campaign swing in the Granite State since announcing his candidacy two and a half months earlier.

Sestak kicked off his six-day swing in the state by joining 18 of his rivals in the record-setting field of Democratic presidential candidates in addressing the crowd Saturday at the New Hampshire Democratic Party’s annual convention. His trip included stops Sunday in Bow – where he greeted voters at the Merrimack County Democrats First-in-the-Nation picnic – and Wednesday in Concord – where met with activists at the state party’s headquarters.

Sestak spent three decades in the Navy and served as director of defense policy at the National Security Council under President Bill Clinton. Sestak won election to Congress – representing a district in southeast Pennsylvania in 2006. He won re-election two years later before being narrowly defeated for the U.S. Senate in 2010 during the Republican Tea Party wave campaign cycle.

Sestak explained to the Monitor exactly why he’s running.

“There’s no way we can meet the challenges that America has to meet, whether it’s abroad or whether it’s here at home if we do not have someone who actually can unite us,” he said, citing his own global experience.

“If there’s ever a moment we need someone who can actually unite this country, it is today or we’re not going to meet those challenges abroad or pass policies at home and that’s why I got in,” he emphasized.

Sestak, who failed to qualify for July’s second round of Democratic presidential primary debates or this week’s third-round showdown, vowed to march on.

He compared his type of small-scale retail politicking to a former Georgia governor who won the White House in 1976 by campaigning door to door.

“That’s the way that Jimmy Carter did it,” Sestak stressed.

Read more on the Concord Monitor

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