Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter’s life just got a little easier.
After the senator’s decision to switch parties and become a Democrat, Republicans were pushing former Gov. Tom Ridge to run against him in 2010, and according to early polling, Ridge would have proven a formidable opponent. But on Thursday, Ridge announced that he’s decided against throwing his hat in the ring.
Ridge’s decision means that former Rep Pat Toomey, R-Pa., a conservative favorite whose entry in to the Republican primary was the key in driving Specter to the Democratic Party, might not face a seriouis opponent in his quest for his party’s nomination. That’s good news for conservatives, but probably bad news for the GOP generally.
Though Toomey would almost certainly have beaten Specter in a primary, polls show him trailing badly in the general. There’s still plenty of time for him to make up that difference, of course, but Pennsylvania has gotten bluer and bluer in recent years, and it will be very hard for a virtually unknown conservative to beat a moderate who also has the advantage of incumbency.