Will Steele punish Specter over stimulus vote?
RNC chairman Michael Steele raised some eyebrows this week when he indicated he was open to withholding national party support from and encouraging party primaries against the three Republican senators who voted for the stimulus package.
When pressed on the matter by Neil Cavuto of Fox News, Steele said he was “always open to anything, baby,” but also said a decision on “retribution” would be made by voters in individual states, as well as the Republican parties in the two affected states, Pennsylvania and Maine.
As the Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder notes, only Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania will be on the ballot in 2010. Specter has a long reputation of moderation in some issues, and will certainly face a tough Democratic challenger (Chris Matthews of MSNBC looked at the race but has apparently decided against running). Whether there is a Republican insurrection as well just north of the Maryland border will be an important test of how the stimulus package is playing among both parties as Obama’s term unfolds.