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Specter Could Face Tough Opponents In 2010 Race – Even After Party Switch

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Sen. Arlen Specter may have switched from the Republican to Democratic Party due to "bleak" primary outlooks, as he said on 'Face the Nation' Sunday. But, a potential contest with former Republican Gov. Tom Ridge may be even more precarious for the recent defector.

Sources close to Ridge tell the Washington Post and Roll Call that the former governor from1995 to 2001 is seriously considering a 2010 Senate bid and that he plans to announce his decision in the next two weeks.

Meanwhile, a Quinnipiac University poll out Monday shows that Specter leads Ridge by only three points – 46 percent to 43 percent -- in a general election contest . Specter's chances against Toomey, the top Republican contender as of now, are much higher. Specter leads Toomey by twenty points, according to the poll.

It's unknown right now Ridge would fare Toomey in a Republican primary.

After announcing his party switch, Specter was quick to earn the endorsement of popular democrats such as President Obama and Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, a Democrat, which are likely to be a positive in a possible Democratic showdown.

"The [Republican] party has changed so much since I was elected in 1980," Specter explained on CBS News' 'Face the Nation' Sunday. "And now, when I cast a vote with the Democrats on the stimulus package, that one vote created a precipitous drop so that I was looking at a situation where the prospects were very bleak to win a Republican primary, and I simply was not going to put my 29-year record before the Republican primary electorate."

Meanwhile, Ridge and Toomey are not Specter's only potential competition next. Specter could still face a challenge from another Democrat in the primary. Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Penn.), an outspoken Specter critic, told CNN's John King, he is "not sure [Specter is] a Democrat yet."

"I'm kind of disappointed in the Democratic establishment in Washington, D.C.," Sestak added, in reference to the support Specter has won. And Politico.com reports that Sestak might be a union favorite.

The Politico also reports that the first to announce his 2010 Senate ambitions, former Constitution Center CEO Joseph Torsella, has resisted calls to clear the field for specter and launched a campaign website this weekend.