At the National Republican Congressional Committee, the House GOP's camaign arm, the bean-counters and strategists claim that former Rep. Pat Toomey, the presumptive Republican nominee for Senate next year in Pennsylvania, runs very well in the House districts where they are expecting competitive races. They believe he will be an asset on the top of the ticket.
And as it turns out, he could win statewide, as well — as some of us have been saying for months.
Another poll from Quinnipiac confirms that former Toomey is a real contender in the Keystone State's 2010 Senate race. His chances are only enhanced by the fact that he might face an opportunistic opponent who switched parties in order to save his political career. Against the incumbent party-switcher, Democrat Sen. Arlen Specter, Toomey already leads, albeit by a statistically insignificant margin: 43 to 42 percent.
Against Rep. Joe Sestak, D-Pa., who is challenging Specter in the primary, Toomey leads 38-35. Toomey gains support when Specter is his opponent, suggesting that some segment of the Pennsylvania electorate is open to voting Democrat, but will vote for Toomey just because Specter is his opponent. A Toomey-Sestak race would present a much bigger question mark, with so many voters undecided.
Although several commentators portray Toomey as some kind of crazy right-winger, he's actually quite a sane and polished center-right politician who held a Democratic-leaning Allentown district for three terms without any problem. In a year that promises to lean Republican, in which a Republican will probably be the frontrunner for governor, Toomey's chances should not be underestimated.