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Tom Ridge (R-Md.) Passes on Pennsylvania Senate Race

Republicans are groaning over this announcement today from former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge:

After careful consideration and many conversations with friends and family and the leadership of my party, I have decided not to seek the Republican nomination for Senate.

That dials the calculation in Pennsylvania back to what it was a week ago — Republicans are nervous about running former Club for Growth President Pat Toomey and trying to recruit a new challenger, liberal Democrats are confident that they can oust Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) in their primary and beat whoever Republicans put up in this safe blue state.

UPDATE: Taegan Goddard asks whether Ridge passed on the race because fresh polling, like an upcoming Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll, would show him losing to Pat Toomey in the Republican primary. That’s believeable. As Clay Richards of the Quinnipiac Poll told me last week, Ridge’s name was put into circulation before there was any hint of him entering the race. He was a theoretical “strong Republican” to cast against Toomey. Once Ridge actually entertained the idea, Republican voters had a chance to think again, and after two years of declining to a small base of conservatives, it’s not a surprise that they wouldn’t rush to back Ridge.

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