Instead, the grudge match may be held in November 2010, assuming Toomey and Specter can win their respective party primaries.
So who comes out ahead?
Lowman S. Henry, director and CEO of the Lincoln Institute of Public Opinion Research and one of the most astute political analysts in Pennsylvania, believes Toomey can beat Specter in a one-on-one contest.
From a new Henry column:
In the potential general election match-up between Specter and Toomey, Toomey will have a number of advantages. First, unlike Specter he will have the passionate support of his party's base. No candidacy can be successful if it cannot excite its base. Toomey will while Specter's reception among core Democrats remains to be seen. Second, Toomey will perform well in western Pennsylvania, which has been trending more conservative and more Republican in recent election cycles. Third, Toomey will best Specter in the Lehigh Valley – his old congressional district – which is a key swing area in statewide politics.Read the full column at the Lincoln Institute Web site.
The big challenge for Toomey may be the prevailing national trend in November 2010. If the trends of the past two cycles, 2006 and 2008, continue the race will be uphill for any Republican running statewide in Pennsylvania. But, three such elections in a row are unlikely and by next November the election will be a referendum on President Obama and the policies of the Democratic Party. And that is a party that now includes Arlen Specter.