Specter to Face Primary Challenge

Pennsylvania Republican Arlen Specter will be challenged in the primary by former Congressman Pat Toomey, a conservative that heads Grover Norquist’s anti-taxes Club for Growth.  Its not surprising, as the conservative wing of the Republican party considers Specter basically a RINO and I’m sure he recently angered the Club for Growth crowd by voting for the conference report stimulus bill.  Of course, Pennsylvania Democrats must be thrilled with this development.  I think I can hear Ed Rendell singing from here.  Toomey will almost surely wage a strong challenge, as the same Republicans that got Rick Santorum two terms in the Senate will back him.  Either Specter survives by depleting his ready cash waging what will almost surely be a nasty ad campaign in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, or Toomey wins and the Democrats can run against someone that does not have the crossover appeal of Arlen Specter.  Specter has won elections in the past in the Jewish centers of Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill and Pat Toomey could never dream of doing that.

Of course, this begs the question: who do the Democrats have to saddle up in the paddock for this race?  Would Rendell make the run?  If Pennsylvania is going to flush their balance of having one R and one D, history suggests it would do so by having one easterner and one westerner, and Rendell doesn’t create that balance with Bob Casey.  Maybe Allegheny County Executive Dan Onarato?  Congressman Jason Altmire fresh off of slaying Melissa Hart, and then staring her down again?  He’s a bit green still and running him would risk letting that seat go R again.  Maybe there is an obvious name that I’m just not thinking of?  It should prove entertaining come this time next year.


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