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Ridge Won't Run For Specter's Senate Seat

(AP)
Tom Ridge, the moderate former Pennsylvania governor, is seen as a formidable potential challenger to Republican-turned-Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter in the Pennsylvania senator's upcoming reelection bid.

But in some good news for Specter, Ridge has announced that he will not seek the Republican nomination for the seat, which will be contested next year.

In a statement, Ridge said the "difficult and deeply personal" decision came "after careful consideration and many conversations with friends and family and the leadership of my party."

"The 2010 race has significant implications for my party, and that required thoughtful reflection," he said.

"To those who believe that the Republican Party is facing challenges, they are right," added Ridge. "To those who believe the Democratic Party is without its own difficulties, they are wrong. No one party has a monopoly on all of the answers."

Ridge, the first person to run the Department Of Homeland Security, trailed Specter by just three points in a poll released this week by Quinnipiac. Pat Toomey, a conservative former representative whose plans to run against Specter were a major factor in Specter's decision to switch parties, trails the senator by 20 points in the Quinnipiac survey.