Ridge took himself out of the running today, however: Tom Ridge, the first U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security and former Governor of Pennsylvania, issued the following statement today on his decision not to seek the Republican nomination for Senate in his home state of Pennsylvania.
“After careful consideration and many conversations with friends and family and the leadership of my party, I have decided not to seek the Republican nomination for Senate.
“I am enormously grateful for the confidence my party expressed in me, the encouragement and kindness of my fellow citizens in Pennsylvania and the valuable counsel I received from so many of my party colleagues. The 2010 race has significant implications for my party, and that required thoughtful reflection. All of the above made my decision a difficult and deeply personal conclusion to reach. However, this process also impressed upon me how fortunate I am to have so many friends who volunteered to support my journey if I chose to take it and continue to offer their support after I conveyed to them this morning how I believe I can best serve my commonwealth, my party and my country.[“]
Toomey recently raised $500,000 in 2 1/2 weeks. Perhaps Ridge knows he couldn’t raise $500,00 in 2 1/2 weeks or possibly even successfully win in a Republican primary in PA. So he gets out. says Ed Morrisey of this:
According to some, with Ridge goes the GOP’s hope of wresting the seat back from Specter and his new colleagues in the Democratic Party. Pennsylvania hasn’t been kind to conservatives, and some point to Rick Santorum’s loss to Robert Casey, Jr. in 2006 as evidence that a conservative can’t win in the Keystone State. That’s what prompted the GOP to start looking for primary challengers to Toomey rather than start building support for him in a general election. Now, they don’t have anyone of sufficient stature to push into the primary.
“jon1979” observes that: Getting a conservative Republican elected in Pennsylvania requires the same parameters that, say, electing a Republican mayor period in New York (that is, an actual Republican, not Michael Bloomberg). That is, Democrats have to:
A.) Hold all major state offices;
B.) Hold both the White House and Congess;
C.) Screw things up before the mid-term election.
That’s how Santorum was elected in 1994 — the Democrats tried to paint him as out of the mainstream, but voters were unhappy with the direction of both the state and the nation, and there were no Republicans in positions of power to blame.
That’s why it’s too early to write Toomey off, no matter what the current poll numbers show. Pennsylvania’s governor is a Democrat; thanks to Arlen, both their senators are now Democrats, Obama’s a Democrat and both Houses of Congress are controlled by Democrats. If Pennsylvania voters are unhappy with the way things are going 18 months from now and want change, based on what happened in 1994, it’s pretty easy to figure out what they’re going to do.