With 52% of precincts reporting, it appears that Arlen Specter has a 20% lead over conservative challenger Pat Toomey in the GOP Primary for the US Senate. I’m of two minds of this – Specter is an appalling Senator and might as well be a liberal, but given the choice of a RINO senator who can help keep a Republican majority and a Democratic liberal, I’d take the devil you know. Just as McClintock would be the correct ideological choice to have won in California, he would have very likely lost in the general election. The same, I fear, would have applied to Toomey. There’s a tendency among conservatives to do the political equivalent of trying to order meatloaf in a Chinese restaurant – there are times when pragmatism demands that you take the option that works rather than the option you like.
Then again, perhaps the conservative backlash against Specter will cause him to lose the seat anyway… proving that sometimes it’s damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
UPDATE: Then again, if it’s true that those results are only for Philly I may have had a “Dewey Beats Truman” moment by declaring Toomey done. Then again, if I’m wrong, I will be happily wrong.
UPDATE: OK, I admit that the numbers are all over the place. The unofficial Allegheny County results show Toomey with a comfortable lead, the official state reports show Specter with a narrow lead, and Philly.com shows Specter wiping the floor with Toomey. We’ll see what happens next…
UPDATE: Weird… Spoons and I both pulled the same "Dewey Beats Truman" reference at almost the same time. Great minds must think alike…
UPDATE: 9:10 PM CST: PoliticsPA shows Toomey down by nearly 20% with 35% of districts reporting. It would appear that Toomey indeed will be defeated by a wide margin.
UPDATE: 9:18 PM CST: Now things really get hairy – PoliticsPA shows the race dramatically narrowing with Specter holding 52% to Toomey’s 48% – which does synch with the official results so far. Toomey appears to have more lives than a cat tonight…
UPDATE: 9:20 PM CST: Now Philly.com shows Toomey and Specter within 4 points of each other as well. Toomey might just pull of a win here.
UPDATE: 9:35 PM CST: Now it’s 59% Specter, 41% Toomey all over again. Bloody hell.
UPDATE: 9:46 PM CST: This race appears to be FUBARed. Bucks County has reported 95,000 erroneous votes for Specter – which may be the reason for the wildly fluctuating set of numbers. Right now PoliticsPA once again shows Specter at 52% and Toomey at 48% with 64% of precincts reporting. This seems more sensible than a 60/40 split based on previous polling results. The overall picture of the race is still impossibly muddled – who knows what the hell is going on at this point, although it seems that Toomey has been consistantly behind.
UPDATE: 10:00 PM CST: The Pennsylvania Department of State page shows "158.79% of the statewide voting districts currently reporting". Yeah, something’s really screwed up here.
UPDATE: 10:06 PM CST: Now it says "351.52% of the statewide voting districts currently reporting". Apparently the turnout in Bizarro Pennsylvania was quite high…
UPDATE: 10:29 PM CST: The race is down to the wire as PoliticsPA reports a 2% gap between Specter and Toomey with 77% of precincts reporting. No word on whether this figure does or does not include the new results from Bucks County.
UPDATE: 10:57 PM CST: The race has become even closer, as with 88% of precincts reporting Toomey is slightly behind Specter.
UPDATE: 11:14 PM CST: With 96% of precincts reporting in, Arlen Specter appears set to run for another term in the Senate, narrowly leading Pat Toomey by 2%. While there may yet be a chance that Toomey could pull ahead in the last minutes, it seems unlikely.
UPDATE: 11:24 PM CST: By a margin of 15,000 votes and 2%, Arlen Specter has defeated Pat Toomey in the PA Senate primary race.
Final results and analysis tomorrow.