Report: Specter trying to change rules to make GOP Senate race an open primary
posted at 5:25 pm on March 23, 2009 by Allahpundit
Via DrewM at Ace’s site. The last time I posted about this, I thought Specter could play Joe Lieberman to Pat Toomey’s Ned Lamont by losing the GOP primary and then winning the general election as an independent. Not so; turns out Pennsylvania law prohibits independent runs by candidates who compete in and lose a primary. So he’s either got to run as a Republican and beat Toomey or duck the showdown by going indie now.
Or maybe there’s a third way.
In recent days, Specter has quietly lobbied Republicans who control the state Senate to support a proposal that would allow independents to vote in the Republican or Democratic primary. He has called individual senators and spoke before the entire caucus – on that and other subjects – earlier this week.
One senator who attended the caucus said it was tough sell.
“It was apparent that he wanted the support” of the caucus, said Sen. John H. Eichelberger, R-Blair, who supports Toomey. “I could tell from the looks in the room and the comments that were made that there wasn’t much support for it.”
So brutal are the poll numbers for Specter among Pennsylvania Republicans that I can’t see how he stands a chance against Toomey, especially considering that plenty of disaffected centrist GOPers have doubtless left the party over the past few years. He’ll have to switch; the only question is, to what? If he goes Democrat, he’ll enjoy some DNC money but also risk a voter backlash as someone who can’t be trusted. If he goes independent, he faces a three-way race — which may or may not be to his advantage, depending upon how far left the Democratic candidate is. Plus, if he wins as an indie, he’s unlikely to lose his seniority on GOP committees given how long he’s been there and how desperate the party is for influence. Exit question: What’s a well-funded RINO incumbent to do?