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Ridge Reluctantly Supports Extremist Toomey After 16 Months

Harrisburg, PA – After 16 months of silence, former Governor Tom Ridge will finally voice his reluctant support for Pat Toomey, former head of the Club for Growth. Ridge considered running for Senate against Toomey to give a voice to Republican moderates, and even after he declined to run, Ridge refused to say if he would vote for Toomey in a general election.

“As the head of the Wall Street-backed Club for Growth, Pat Toomey led the purge of moderate Republicans,” said Mark Nicastre, spokesman with the Pennsylvania Democratic Party. “It’s no surprise that it took Republican Tom Ridge nearly 16 months to reluctantly support his fellow Republican Pat Toomey. Ridge knows that Pat Toomey is too extreme and out of touch with Pennsylvania.”

In a May 7, 2009 interview with Chris Matthews on MSNBC’s Hardball, Ridge refused to back Toomey.

Matthews: Who you voting for?
Ridge: Well, I’m going to wait and see who’s in the primary.
Matthews: No, if you had to vote between Toomey, the conservative Republican, or Specter, the ex-Republican, who would you vote for?
Ridge: It’s a wonderful country, this America.  It’s called a secret ballot.

In a May 24, 2009 interview with John King on CNN’s State of the Union, Ridge again refused to back Toomey.

John King: You just decided not to run for Senate. You could have run as a Republican. Some polls said you would have won. You decided not to run for the seat. Arlen Specter has switched from a Republican to a Democrat now. In this race, come November, if Arlen Specter is the Democratic nominee and Mr. Toomey the conservative Republican, the former congressman, is the Republican nominee, Tom Ridge will vote for who?
Tom Ridge: Tom Ridge has a secret ballot and — and Tom Ridge will discuss it at the election. I’m going to wait, on the Republican side of the aisle, to see how the field — I hear a couple of names out there. And I’m going to wait to see if the people that I know whom I might support decide to make the difficult decision to run.
King: But in the end…
Ridge: At the end of the day…
King: At the end of the day…
King: You just offered the Republican Party all this advice: be less judgmental; be less judgmental; open your mind on these issues, if you want to be competitive in states like this. Why should any Republicans listen to you if you won’t commit to voting for the Republican nominee?
Ridge: Well, it begins on the message and the messenger. You know, I’m a strong, strong, Republican, but I’d be — I’ve never, ever, ever voted straight Republican ticket in my life and I never will. My mother was a Republican committee woman. My dad a lifelong Democrat who switched once in a primary to vote for me. (LAUGHTER) But, at the end of the day, I think it’s — when you close — close a curtain behind you, it makes America very unique. It’s a secret ballot.

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