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Toomey Confirms He’s Looking at Statewide Bid

Former Pennsylvania Rep. Pat Toomey (R) said he is considering a statewide bid in 2010, either for governor or another primary challenge to Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.).

“I haven’t ruled out a statewide run in 2010,” Toomey said in an interview this week.

Since losing the GOP primary to Specter by 2 points in 2004, Toomey has run the Club for Growth while living in Zionsville, Pa. In an interview in the club’s Washington, D.C., office, Toomey said he has not spoken with Specter since before the general election in 2004.

But it’s more likely that Toomey would make a bid for governor, said a Pennsylvania Republican operative close to him. The operative cautioned, however, that he would not swear off a Specter challenge if the trademark moderate Republican Senator verges too far to the left on certain issues — for example, the “card check” vote that would make it easier for workers to unionize.

Specter staved off another potential challenger this week when media reports confirmed that cable TV news host Chris Matthews has decided not to run for Senate. A former top aide to the late Speaker Tip O’Neill (D-Mass.), Matthews had discussed a potential bid with activists and operatives in the state — even going as far as having an informal handshake agreement with a prominent Philadelphia media consultant.

Toomey said he was just on Matthews’ show, “Hardball,” a few weeks ago, and said the two have had light-hearted conversations about the Senate race.

“He and I, we joke with each other, for obvious reasons before the show starts,” Toomey said.

Democratic Reps. Patrick Murphy and Allyson Schwartz are said to be thinking about running against Specter, as is state Deputy Speaker Josh Shapiro (D).

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