Ridge May Challenge Specter
Former congressman, governor, and cabinet secretary Tom Ridge, a moderate pro-choice
Republican may run
for the Senate as a Republican.
Of course, he would first have to defeat conservative Pat Toomey (R), a prospect that
Arlen Specter found so daunting that he switched parties to avoid having to do battle
with Toomey. While Ridge is quite popular statewide, when 200,000 moderate Republicans
switched parties to vote in the Clinton-Obama primary last year, the party effectively
moved far to the right, so although the pro-choice Ridge might be able to win the
general election, he might not be able to win the Republican primary. And Pennsylvania
has a "sore-loser" law that prevents anyone from pulling a Lieberman (losing a partisan
primary and then running as an independent).
Specter may face a primary challenge himself from Rep. Joe Sestak and others.
Sestak has said he wasn't sure Specter was really a Democrat yet.
Sestak may have found a strange ally in his mental debate with himself about running or
not running: the Republican Party. The GOP has
a campaign to highlight the consistency of Specter's Republican voting record in the Senate--something
they were denying most of last week.
All in all, Pennsylvania will be a big battleground
in 2010, but Specter is a battle-tested warrior and no one should count him out.
Hodes Trails Potential Republicans in New Hampshire
The likely Democratic senatorial candidate in New Hampshire, Paul Hodes, is
trailing two potential Republican rivals, former senator John Sununu and current
senator Judd Gregg in a new University of New Hampshire
However, Sununu was defeated for reelection last November and Gregg has said he is not
running, so these polls probably don't mean much. What does mean something is Hodes' poor
fundraising: he raised only $300,000 during the first quarter of 2009. Still,
the election is a year and a half away and a lot can change before then.
Rubio May Run for Florida Senate Seat
While most of the speculation about the Florida Senate seat being vacated by
Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL) centers on whether Gov. Charlie Crist (R-FL) will run for it,
a potential dark horse in that race is former House Speaker Marco Rubio (R).
from Rubio is expected this week.
While Crist would be the favorite in both the primary and general election, a primary
battle with Rubio probably wouldn't be helpful to Crist as Rubio would no doubt
highlight Crist's support for the stimulus bill, which is deeply unpopular with
Specter Switch May Put Pressure on Pawlenty
If the Minnesota Supreme Court rules in favor of Democrat Al Franken in the
long-drawn-out Minnesota Senate election and orders Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) to
sign the election certificate, he will be on the hot seat. Since Arlen Specter's
switch, the Democrats now have 59 seats in the Senate and Franken would be the 60th.
As a consequence, the Republicans are going to pull out all stops to prevent Franken
from being seated. Very likely, former senator Norm Coleman will appeal a loss in
the state courts to the federal courts. However, if Pawlenty is ordered by the state
Supreme Court to sign the election certificate and refuses to do so, we are going to
be in uncharted territory. The state House could impeach him for this. The Senate
could try to seat Franken anyway. It could be a huge multifront battle.
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