Pennsylvania: Meakem Passes on Challenging Specter

Posted March 4, 2009 at 6:29pm

Pittsburgh entrepreneur Glen Meakem announced Tuesday that he would not challenge Sen. Arlen Specter (R) in next year’s GOP primary.

Meakem’s announcement came one day after former Rep. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) said on a local radio show that he was reconsidering challenging Specter in 2010 — an option that Toomey presumably took off the table a few months ago when he launched an exploratory committee for governor. Specter barely won his 2004 primary against Toomey.

Meakem, who said in a phone interview that he talks regularly with Toomey, said he was “certainly encouraging— the former Congressman to run against Specter. Meakem said his decision was based on personal concerns, despite pleas from Pennsylvania conservative leaders to challenge him.

“I remain dedicated to defeating Arlen Specter and helping to elect a smart, conservative Republican who understands how to successfully run our economy,— Meakem said in a statement. “I am confident that I will be able to endorse a candidate in the coming weeks.—

The Republican who emerges from the GOP primary is expected to face another challenge in the general election. Former National Constitution Center President Joe Torsella has announced he is running, while several Members of Congress are thinking about a Senate bid.