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Sestak concedes to Toomey in the 2010 miderm Senate race Credit: jen liao

RADNOR, Pa. — The races to replace Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter and Gov. Ed Rendell are over, and as results poured in Tuesday night, supporters of Democratic senatorial nominee U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak had one word to explain their feelings: disappointment.

At headquarters in Radnor, Pa., participants watched early leads by Sestak, like those of Democratic gubernatorial nominee Dan Onorato deteriorate as the night progressed.

Early results and expectations of higher-than-normal voter turnout in Pennsylvania kept the crowd lively, but as the results narrowed, the mood of the crowd evolved from one of hope and optimism to disillusion.

“I’m very disappointed,” Penn alumna and rally attendee Cindy Clark said, noting that the national media projected that the Republicans would take back the House. Clark added, “I don’t want to say it was inevitable, but the signs were clear.”

Other attendees expressed frustration with the lack of turnout.

“In Pennsylvania, we had a 1.2-million voter-registration advantage,” Sestak volunteer and rally attendee Eric Bradway said. “They didn’t come out. Period. Philadelphia did not come out.”

Bradway also expressed his concerns about the policies Governor-elect Tom Corbett will advocate for in 2011, noting that the Republican will support “across-the-board” cuts in important spending programs.

As the Associated Press officially called the race for Toomey just before midnight Tuesday night, many attendees started to disperse from the rally disheartened.

In the early hours of Wednesday morning, Sestak appeared before the crowd to concede the race to his opponent. The congressman said he had no regrets.

“I would do it again even knowing the ending, in a heartbeat,” he said.

He also thanked his district for past support. “I’ve never had a better boss than them. I love being a public servant.”

Sestak closed his remarks by referring to his daughter, who he was holding in his arms.

“Now it’s Alex’s time,” he said.

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