Big Tent Party Update: Club for Growth’s Toomey Targeting Arlen Specter

graph1.jpgIt appears that Republicans are determined to achieve total ideological purity even if it means reducing their dwindling numbers even further.

?Five years ago, after Pat Toomey conceded a photo-finish Republican primary to Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Penn.), his eastern Pennsylvania grassroots organizer Ted Meehan took him aside.

“Specter won with 51 percent of the vote,” said Meehan in a Monday interview. “I told Pat, if he’d had all of Specter’s advantages — had he raised 10 times as much money, and gotten endorsed by [former Sen. Rick] Santorum and President Bush — I don’t think Specter would have gotten even 25 percent of the vote.”

Five years later, Meehan was one of the people Toomey called to inform them that he would probably enter the 2010 race for Senate and face off, once again, against Arlen Specter. The former congressman and current president and CEO of the Club for Growth had repeatedly, and recently, denied interest in a rematch. But activists in Pennsylvania and across the broader conservative movement are now urging Toomey to get into a race where, for a number of reasons, he might be the frontrunner.

And the key reason?

“These moderate Republicans are gone,” said Jim Lee, the president of Susquehanna Polling and Research, in a Monday interview. “They’re just gone. That’s made matters very difficult for Arlen Specter.”

Just three Republicans (including Specter) in the entire US Congress were willing to support the President’s recovery bill. That’s apparently too many for the GOP’s overlords at the Club for Growth.

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