Former Governor Tom Ridge, Republican of Pennsylvania, said yesterday that he will not run in the primary that his party will hold next year, to choose a candidate for the Senate seat held by Capitol Hill's newest Democrat, Arlen Specter.
Earlier this week, I wrote about speculation regarding a potential Ridge candidacy, in this post.
On another topic in that post, Specter has been named chairman of the Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs of the Senate Judiciary Committee. That's a bit surprising, on the heels of the Democrats' decision not to recognize Specter's seniority.
But it's not all that far out of the ordinary. A freshman among the 435 members of the House of Representatives usually must wait a while before getting a leadership position. But in the Senate, with its smaller membership, there's less of a waiting line. Therefore, it's not unprecedented for a freshman senator (which is the status that his new party has, in effect, bestowed on Specter) to chair a subcommittee.
Nate Silver, in the 538 blog, speculates about whether Ridge is keeping his powder dry for an attempt to get on his party's national ticket in 2012. Seems to me a bit unlikely, but the Republican field will be about as wide open as can be, so I suppose no one can be ruled out.