State Treasurer Bob Casey has been considering (or at least considered for) a run against arch-conservative Rick Santorum in 2006, and his candidacy has attracted a lot of attention because of the breadth of support he received statewide in achieving his current office. Now he's apparently meeting with top Senate leadership
about his prospects, which would surely require their support, given the nationwide interest in unseating Santorum.
The opportunity came suddenly for Casey, who was sworn into his new office just two weeks ago. He was not mulling a Senate bid until his strong showing in November got the attention of national Democrats struggling to figure out how to appeal to the rural and small-town voters who trampled Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry.
It's interesting that he's working the national prospects already, given that several other names have come up as competitive prospects for this same race. This next might help explain the jump:
Casey, 44, has said he is considering running. But his family has endured five election campaigns during the last eight years, and he also has said he is concerned about the toll a Senate race might take on them. Casey has told some state Democrats that he would prefer an uncontested primary if he were to run against Santorum.
Barbara Hafer and Joe Hoeffel aren't necessarily going to step aside without a fight, although it's possible that early unity could be negotiated by one of the region's big hitters (such as Rendell, mentioned explicitly here). Fascinating to watch.