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Specter can defeat Toomey easily - but not Tom Ridge

NEWSCOM/FILE

(Read caption) Arlen Specter's old friend Tom Ridge could present a formidable challenge to Specter's attempt for a sixth term in the U.S. Senate. A new poll showed the two in a virtual tie if the election were held today.

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Well, in moving over to the Democratic party Arlen Specter appears to have taken care of one problem -- a primary challenge against a more popular Republican, Pat Toomey.

The problem is there's another Republican out there looming. Tom Ridge.

The former Homeland Security Secretary and Pennsylvania Governor could present Specter with some obstacles if Ridge decides to run. That according to a new Quinnipiac poll released today.

Poll

If it's Specter versus Toomey in the general, Toomey can stay home. Specter clobbers him by a 53 - 33 margin if the election were to be held today.

If Ridge enters the picture all bets are off. The poll shows Specter with a flimsy 46 - 43 lead.

"A former Republican Senator running as a Democrat against a popular former Republican governor seeking to make a political comeback would be a battle royal in Pennsylvania," said Clay F. Richards, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

"Gov. Tom Ridge is probably the only political figure in Pennsylvania who could give Sen. Arlen Specter a run for his money. But even if he gets a strong challenge from a Republican, Specter is still better off for having changed parties because he seemed headed to certain defeat had he stayed a Republican and faced Toomey in a primary.

Ridge run

So is Ridge even thinking about running?

Who knows? Roll Call announced on Saturday that somebody "with knowledge of the situation" said he's considering it.

Someone "without knowledge of the situation" could make that claim as well. You have to assume, unless Ridge says otherwise, that it's an option. Politics is in his blood.

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