Incumbent Senator Arlen Specter trails former Congressman Pat Toomey by 21 points in an early look at Pennsylvania’s 2010 Republican Primary. Fifty-one percent (51%) of Republican voters statewide say they’d vote for Toomey while just 30% would support Specter.
Specter is viewed favorably by 42% of Pennsylvania Republicans and unfavorably by 55%, according to a new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of voters in the state. Those are stunningly poor numbers for a long-term incumbent senator. Specter was first elected to the Senate in 1980.
Toomey, who served in the House from 1999 to 2005, earns positive reviews from 66% and negative comments from just 19%.
Its time to read the writing on the wall, Senator: the GOP is rejecting you.
I bear no ill will towards Senator Specter and, to be honest, I often find myself admiring the man. But while I view Specter as an ally on some issues, I don’t view him as someone appropriate for the GOP Senate caucus. Even if Specter would be the 51st Senator to provide the GOP with a majority, I’d rather we didn’t have that – I don’t want any future GOP Senate majority dependent upon the good will of a man who consistently undercuts conservatism in the Senate. Better to be a strong minority than a weak majority, as far as the Senate goes. Specter now has his choice to make: run as a GOPer and likely get beaten in the primary, or run as an Independent and have a shot at winning in his own right and thus be able to ally himself with the GOP or the Democrats as his inclinations dictate and, in the end, as he’s done throughout his Senate career.
Will we win with Toomey? I’m not sure – he seems a bit conservative for Pennsylvania, but so did Santorum, and he managed to win and only got beaten in an anti-GOP “wave” year. Pennsylvania has a lot of liberal proclivities, especially in the Philly area, but it also has a lot of conservatism, especially on the matter of Life Issues. Toomey, running against a Democrat and an Independent might be able to squeak in on the center/right votes while the other two divvy up the center/left votes.