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With control of the United States Senate so close, state and national Democratic leaders have made public their search for a willing, viable candidate to take on the GOP nominee -either Senator Arlen Specter or Congressman Pat Toomey.  PoliticsPA took a look at an expanded list, the Long List of potential Democratic nominees for Senate in 2004.  Among them, some you would suspect, and many others, we believe, reflect an out-of-the-box approach.  Of course, most of these potential candidates have not (yet) indicated an interest in seeking the Democratic nomination for Senate in 2004.  On Likelihood of running, we rated we used terms including the following:  slim to none, slim, potential, likely, and certain.


For real political junkies, we looked at five factors among the few dozen potential candidates, including the existing level of name ID, fundraising ability, ability to articulate the issues, interest in running, and ability to win.  Scoring each factor on a scale of zero to five, we added a column showing the totals...  Of course these are quite subjective and we invite you to come up with your own score sheet and help the Democrats find the best candidate.  View the PoliticsPA analysis.


Lynne Abraham:  Philadelphia District Attorney

Pros:  Great resume, a ferocious prosecutor.  Despite urban background, she could appeal to rural Democrats.

Cons: Used to work for Specter when he was the Philadelphia District Attorney; may draw from same base of support as Specter, if Specter is nominated by the GOP.

Likelihood of running: slim to none



Bob Borski:  former Member of Congress

Pros: Could expect strong party support as payback for bowing out of a potentially divisive primary in 2002.

Cons May have trouble appealing to rural Democrats.

Likelihood of running: slim



Bob Brady:  Member of Congress

Pros: A tough, smart student of politics.  Could organize a strong grassroots movement without relying on prohibitively expensive television ads.

Cons: too much to lose; may have trouble appealing to rural Democrats.

Likelihood of running: slim to none



Bob Casey, Jr.:  Auditor General

Pros:  His last name alone gets him 40% of the vote.  Having been tested in the Gubernatorial primary, Casey now knows what it takes.

Cons:  Still needs to improve his ability to articulate the issues. The Casey and Specter families have deep, friendly roots.

Likelihood of running: slim to none



Renee Chenault-Fattah:  Attorney, journalist, and wife of Congressman Chaka Fattah

Pros:  Fresh, attractive, and well-spoken.

Cons: May have trouble appealing to conservative, rural Democrats outside the Philadelphia media market.

Likelihood of running: slim



Pat Croce:  former President, Philadelphia 76’ers

Pros: A celebrity in southeast Pennsylvania, with great name ID and the ability to raise large sums of cash.

Cons: Lives in New Jersey.

Likelihood of running: slim



Charlie Crystle:  former software company founder and CEO, musician, philanthropist

Pros:  May partially self-fund; compared to other newcomers Crystle seems likely to quickly put together a significant grassroots effort.

Cons:  Currently unknown in most Democratic circles

Likelihood of running:  likely, watch for 2006 run against Santorum.



Jim Eisenhower:  Governor’s Commission on Crime Chair, Ex-District Attorney and 2000 Attorney General nominee

Pros: Solid resume, statewide experience.

Cons: Lost badly to Mike Fisher in 2000. 

Likelihood of running: slim




Barbara Hafer: Treasurer, former Republican candidate for Governor.

Pros: A moderate woman who has won statewide, and earned the respect of many Democrats when she crossed party lines to endorse Governor Rendell in 2002.

Cons: Would have to switch parties.

Likelihood of running: potential



John Hanger:  PennFuture leader

Pros: Strong environmental credentials and solid resume; could be an excellent 'out-of-the-box' candidate.

Cons: May not be ready for a tough statewide campaign.

Likelihood of running: likely



Howard "Hoddy" Hanna:  Howard Hanna Real Estate

Pros:  Strong economic credentials; could be an excellent 'out-of-the-box' candidate, and perhaps self-fund

Cons: He's been a loyal Specter and Santorum contributor, as well as a supporter of many Democrats.

Likelihood of running:  potential



Joseph Hoeffel: Member of Congress

Pros: Performs well in Montgomery County, a bastion of GOP votes.

Cons: Would leave a serious 'stature gap' if he were to run against Senator Specter.

Likelihood of running: potential, refused to rule out a run for Senate when asked in early May, watch for 2006 run against Santorum.



Tim Holden:  Member of Congress

Pros:  Performs well in conservative central Pennsylvania, won surprise victory over Republican Congressman George Gekas in 2002.

Cons: Could follow Ron Klink's 2000 path, and fail to attract liberal Democrats.

Likelihood of running: slim



Billy King:  76ers general manager

Pros:  Reportedly at first interested in running, King would be an excellent 'out-of-the-box' candidate and could draw huge votes from the Southeast.  The latest news is that he is not likely to run for Senate.

Cons: Would have to out-hustle Specter or Toomey in the "T," something that is not likely to happen.

Likelihood of running: slim to none



Allen Kukovich: State Senator, former candidate for Lt. Governor, former Chairman, Democratic State Committee.

Pros: Earned the respect and goodwill of many as interim chairman and candidate for Lt. Governor; Appeals to both wings of the Democratic Party.

Cons: May have trouble raising the necessary funds fast enough.

Likelihood of running: slim, watch for 2006 run against Santorum



John Lawless: former State Representative, former candidate for Lt. Governor

Pros: crazy enough to run for Senate.

Cons: PoliticsPA's 2002 Loser of the Year.

Likelihood of running: potential



Kathy Manderino: State Representative

Pros:  Few rank and file members understand the inside political game better.  She followed her father, Democratic Leader and House Speaker James Manderino, into the House of Representatives in 1993.

Cons: Probably could not raise the necessary funds.

Likelihood of running: slim



Jennifer Mann: State Representative, Chair of the Democratic Leadership Council's State Legislative Advisory Board

Pros: Would be an attractive, well-spoken candidate who could draw cross-over votes and gain the support of both wings of the Party; Her ties to the DLC provide an excellent secondary base of support.

Cons: May not be ready to run statewide.

Likelihood of running: slim, watch for 2006 run against Santorum.



Kate Michelman: President, NARAL Pro-Choice America

Pros: Although Michelman is a national figure, she retains strong ties to Pennsylvania and could draw on numerous sources of funding.

Cons: A Michelman candidacy would be more effective against a solidly pro-life candidate.

Likelihood of running: slim to none



Tom Murphy: Mayor, City of Pittsburgh

Pros:  One of Pennsylvania's most popular Democrats.

Cons: Pittsburgh is in financial turmoil and the local Democratic Party is squabbling.

Likelihood of running: slim to none



Jack Murtha:  Member of Congress

Pros: One of Pennsylvania's most respected Democrats, could appeal to liberal Democrats as well as his base of conservative, rural Democrats. 

Cons: Probably would have trouble keeping pace with the GOP nominee.

Likelihood of running:  slim to none



Marsha Perelman: leader of Woodforde Energy Inc., and sister-in-law of Revlon cosmetics chief Ron Perelman.

Pros: Could self-fund the race. 

Cons: Other than self-funding the race, Perelman does not bring much to the table.

Likelihood of running: potential



Judith Rodin: President, University of Pennsylvania

Pros: Described as the Democrats' 'Dream Candidate,' she brings together strong national ties, proven fundraising ability, a fresh face to the Democratic Party, and a proven willingness to hustle.

Cons: Rodin's academic publications could provide a bonanza to an opposition researcher.

Likelihood of running: slim



T.J. Rooney: Chairman, Democratic State Committee, State Representative

Pros: One of the Democrats' rising stars, well-respected among both wings of the Party.

Cons: Would likely have to give up Chairmanship of the Democratic State Committee, and just turned down a chance to run for the Congressional seat being vacated by Congressman Pat Toomey.

Likelihood of running slim, watch for 2006 run against Santorum



Allyson Schwartz: State Senator, former candidate for United States Senate

Pros: Ambitious, well-spoken, and has statewide experience.

Cons: More interested in running for Auditor General in 2004; May draw from same base of support as Specter, if Specter is nominated by the GOP.

Likelihood of running: possible, watch for 2006 run against Santorum if 2004 Auditor General run is successful.



Keith Seewald: Democratic activist, President of the Democratic Society of Pennsylvania

Pros: Actively seeking the nomination to run for Senate.  Seewald's goal is to save the Democratic Party money in an 'unwinnable' race.  Read his speech to the Somerset County Democratic Committee.

Cons: Guaranteed to lose.

Likelihood of runningcertain



Mark Singel: former Lt. Governor, former candidate for Governor

Pros: One of Pennsylvania's most talented and connected Democrats who understands the what is required in a statewide run.

Cons: would not bring 'new blood' to the Party.

Likelihood of running: slim



Teresa Heinz-Kerry: widow of Senator John Heinz, wife of Senator John Kerry

Pros: An outspoken leader who could bring star power to the ticket; Could self-fund the race; Could attract cross-over votes from moderate Republicans.

Cons: Recently switched parties; A run for Senate while her husband is running for President would be unworkable.

Likelihood of running: slim to none



Connie Williams: State Senator

Pros: Could attract moderate Republicans; could self-fund; Brings a fresh face to the Democratic ticket.

Cons: It may not be her time yet; Williams would be viewed as a regional -rather than statewide- candidate.

Likelihood of running: slim



Dan Wofford: former candidate, United States Congress

Pros: Nearly beat Republican Jim Gerlach despite an enormous GOP registration edge.  Good on the issues, and could appeal to both wings of the Party.

Cons: Wofford ran one race, and lost.

Likelihood of running: slim to none


 View the PoliticsPA analysis.