Here's what I've been able to find about opposition. Not much. If anyone knows of names to track, sites recruiting opposition, etc. please let me know. It sounds like Specter will have a tough race even without opposition. We don't want to lose the seat to a Democrat, but after today's vote I'm not sure it really matters. If he's going to vote like a Democrat, why shouldn't we try to support a strong conservative Republican instead?
Pennsylvania: Club for Growth head and Republican former Congressman Pat Toomey continues to stir speculation about a 2010 Senate primary challenge to Arlen Specter.
(Obviously this hasn't been updated in a month or so, at least. Gregg is gone, Matthews was told not to run, and Toomey has said he's shooting for the Governor's seat).
Arlen Specter will be the Democrats #2 target (after Judd Gregg). He will be 80 in 2010, has incurable cancer, and is from a blue state. Furthermore, he may face a primary challenge from the right from Pat Toomey, who challenged him in 2004. But beating Toomey won't be enough. If Gov. Ed Rendell (D-PA) can be talked into challenging him, Specter is in huge trouble, but he will also have a big fight on his hands against any of the numerous Democratic representatives from Pennsylvania. Hardball host Chris Matthews may also be interested in the job.
Former Rep. Pat Toomey said this week that he is considering a rematch of his 2004 challenge to Specter - a brutal contest Specter barely survived (the margin was less than 2%. Toomey then became president of the Club for Growth and thus funded a number of other challenges to Republican incumbents perceived as moderates, meeting defeat in a number of races (Rhode Island’s Senate race in 2006, AK-AL in 2008) and some short-lived success in others (MI-07 and MD-01, though Democrats defeated the Club-backed candidate in the general election in both districts this fall).
“He’s significantly more vulnerable now than he was in 2004,” Toomey said of Specter. He unveiled a very interesting argument: Tens of thousands of voters who were registered Republican in 2004 have since switched their party registration and can thus no longer vote in Pennsylvania’s closed Republican primary. Those voters were Specter’s natural constituency, giving Toomey a boost over their 2004 match-up.
Needless to say, another bloody primary would help Democrats in this race. If he survives, Specter would be softened up for the general election. If Toomey prevails, the Democratic nominee would have to be considered the favorite to pick-up the seat.