Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Toomey-Specter II

Former Pennsylvania GOP Congressman Pat Toomey today officially launched his challenge of Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter for the GOP Senatorial nomination. Specter is up for re-election next year. Until earlier this week, Toomey had been President of The Club For Growth.

Toomey had previously challenged Specter in 2004 and came within an eyelash of ousting Specter. However, Specter had President Bush and his fellow Pennsylvania Republican Rick Santorum in his corner.

Well, Bush and Santorum are now both private citizens. Let us also remember that Specter was one of three Republicans who supported the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (a.k.a. The Stimulus Bill) along with Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine. Toomey stands a far better chance of prevailing this time around. However, Specter isn't going down without a fight.

As long as Specter is the sitting Senator, Republican Party entities will back him such as the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee. One must also consider an organization like the Republican Jewish Coalition (of which I am a member.)

Given that is very unlikely that Norm Coleman will prevail in Minnesota, Specter becomes the only Jewish Republican in the Senate. Any move to unseat Specter is going to ruffle feathers. Now let me hasten to point out that Toomey is not objecting to Specter on religious grounds in any way. It is also worth noting that Specter visited Syria in December 2006 to meet with President Bashar Assad despite protests from the Bush Administration. After meeting with Assad, Specter proclaimed that Assad wanted to resume peace talks with Israel. Oh yes, the Syrians got right on top of that one. Frankly, Specter is far too close to Syria for Jewish comfort. But notwithstanding these things there will be uneasiness amongst some Republican Jews in removing the Senate's only Jewish Republican.

Of course, if Toomey does wrest the Republican nomination from Specter it is hardly a guarantee he will a Senatorial election in Pennsylvania. However, if the economy is worse in 18 months from now there will be growing discontent with President Obama and Democrats in general. Under such circumstances, Toomey would stand a very good chance in being elected to the Senate in 2010.

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