Steadfast Conservative Pat Toomey

Return from 2004

Patrick Toomey ran in the Republican primary of 2004 against Arlen Specter (then Republican) for a Senate seat. Specter was a candidate of moderate ideology more or less regarded as a Republican in Name Only, whereas Toomey is an example of a core Republican, campaigning on adherence to heavily Conservative principles leading to a better America. In the primary, Specter edged out Toomey by a mere 2%—startling, considering Specter raised four times as much money and received endorsements from prominent Republican figures Rick Sanctorum and George W. Bush.

The irony of the current election is obvious: Pat Toomey returned to seek Specter’s Senate seat again for 2010, expecting to face Specter the Democrat in the November elections. Instead, Toomey became the Republican candidate handily, but ended up facing Joe Sestak rather than Specter.

Principled Republican

Prior to his foray into politics, Toomey was a businessman; he first served as a member of the Allentown Government Study Commission in 1994. Elected as the House represenative of Pennsylvania’s 15th district in 1998, Toomey served three terms in the House of Representatives. When Toomey departed from his House seat in 2004, he received a 97% lifetime rating from the American Conservatives Union based on his House voting record. After his unsuccessful bid to become the Republican Senate candidate in 2004, Toomey served as the President of the Club for Growth, a conservative organization that supported Toomey’s bid and raised $2 million for him in 2004. He resigned in April 2009 when he announced his intent to run for Senate again.

This laundry list of a history says little about Toomey himself, whose policies and views are better expressed through his voting record and current claims. Toomey is pro-life, voting to ban partial-birth abortions. He supports continued deregulation; during his first campaign for the House seat, Toomey advocated a flat tax rate. Toomey’s campaign website indicates he “[encourages] the growth of personally owned and controlled health care” but suggests tax benefits for individual health insurance purchasers as the first step to a solution. In a recent interview with RealClearPolitics, Toomey proclaims his mission as, “[restoring] economic growth in the private sector and fiscal discipline and [bringing] some balance in Washington”.

Toomey suffered no challenge from a Tea Party candidate in Pennsylvania, and won the Republican primary by 81% of the vote.


Pennsylvania Republican Primary May 2010

Results of the Pennsylvania Republican primary


Reading Pennsylvania

As mentioned previously in the profiling of Joe Sestak on this blog, Toomey is leading the polls by high single digits. With the election only a month and a half away, short of a catastrophe Toomey looks to be taking Specter’s seat. The New York Times race profile summarizes Toomey as a candidate right of the middle, where he needs to attract more votes in order to win the state.


Graph of polls for the 2010 Pennsylvania Senate race

Graph of polls for the 2010 Pennsylvania Senate race


In Pennsylvania, the key issue is the economy. Toomey’s business-oriented policies may appeal to some moderates, and he avoids blame for the economic collapse and following unpopular stimulus bills since he did not serve in Washington for the last six years. He has also expressed his disapproval of the health care bill. However, both he and Sestak have similar “follower” status in terms of their voting records. As the election draws nearer and Pennsylvania voters learn more about the candidates, Toomey can possibly lose his lead.
– A.L.

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  • About Us

    Pennforge is a group of college kids excited to follow the 2010 elections of Pennsylvania. We hope to highlight the candidates, the issues, and any race drama that may come up. Thanks for following!
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