Toomey throws hat in the ring

    Pat Toomey’s online announcement makes it official. Pennsylvania voters are in for a rematch of 2004’s hard-fought Republican Senate primary between the conservative former congressman, and longtime incumbent Arlen Specter.

    Pat Toomey’s online announcement makes it official. Pennsylvania voters are in for a rematch of 2004’s hard-fought Republican Senate primary between the conservative former congressman, and longtime incumbent Arlen Specter.

    Listen:
    [audio: reports20090416primary.mp3]

    Political observers say it will be one of the most-watched races in the country next year.

    The 2010 Republican Senate primary is still more than a year away, but a lot of national attention is already focused on Toomey and Specter’s campaign.

    Political scientist Christopher Borick of Muhlenberg College says the race will be among the most interesting of the midterm elections because of its implications for the GOP.

    Borick: You have a long-term Republican, the most senior Republican in the US Senate on the verge of being dispatched by his own party. You have the broader issue of the Republican tent, if you will. Can moderates still survive as Republicans in this day and age?

    Borick says Specter’s recent TV ads don’t mean Pennsylvania voters will be in for more than a year of campaign ads.

    He says both candidates will likely air sporadic messages throughout 2009, but Specter and Toomey will spend more time raising money, saving resources for next year.

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