Worst. Candidate Recruiters. Ever.
You would think that a former Governor, someone extremely competitive in the general election against an incumbent, would be an easy mark to recruit for the Senate. Unless the person in question is Tom Ridge, and the party in question the Republican Party. Here's his statement:
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.
I am enormously grateful for the confidence my party expressed in me, the encouragement and kindness of my fellow citizens in Pennsylvania and the valuable counsel I received from so many of my party colleagues. The 2010 race has significant implications for my party, and that required thoughtful reflection. All of the above made my decision a difficult and deeply personal conclusion to reach. However, this process also impressed upon me how fortunate I am to have so many friends who volunteered to support my journey if I chose to take it and continue to offer their support after I conveyed to them this morning how I believe I can best serve my commonwealth, my party and my country.
It's clear from the statement that he didn't want to deal with the whackos of the Pennsylvania Republican primary electorate either. Kos had numbers showing him losing to Pat Toomey in the primary.
Two things here: first, this is all the more reason to support a primary of Arlen Specter. With Ridge's departure, the probability that Pat Toomey will win the Republican nomination go up significantly. Sure, the party poohbahs will try to find someone not fated to lose, like Rep. Jim Gerlach from the Philly suburbs. But Toomey has the momentum. And he cannot win a general election. Democrats in Pennsylvania should know that they can put someone who shares their values in the race with every expectation that they can win the seat.
Second, this is an epic FAIL for the GOP recruitment team. Combine this with Mark Kirk's demurral to run for the Senate in Illinois, and you have two high-profile candidates begging off a run. Nobody wants anything to do with the Republican Party. And why would they? Consigned to a minority for the near future, unable to gain traction with the same old ideas, and in the face of a popular President, the Republicans have nothing to offer their candidates, let alone America.