Former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge is thinking seriously about running against Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pa., in 2010 and will make his decision in the next couple weeks, the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza reports.
If Ridge — who also served as director of Homeland Security in the last administration — does decide to mount a campaign, the whole dynamic of the race would be affected. He’d have to take on former Rep. Pat Toomey in a Republican primary, which could be touchy; Toomey is a favorite of conservatives in the state and nationwide, while Ridge is more of a moderate. That could lead to the same kind of pitched battle that would have gone on between Specter and Toomey if the incumbent hadn’t decided to switch parties.
Assuming he won the primary, though, Ridge would be a much more formidable opponent for Specter than Toomey. A Quinnipiac University poll released Monday showed Specter over Toomey in a landslide, while Ridge trailed the senator by just three points. (A separate survey, also released Monday, showed Toomey behind Specter by only six percentage points and Ridge actually beating the incumbent, but it was sponsored by a conservative business group and appears to dramatically oversample Republicans and undersample independents.)