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Kim WardWestmoreland County's Kim Ward may join former Santorum staffer Mark Scarinigi as a GOP challenger to Bob Casey, reports PoliticsPa:

High-ranking Republicans are courting State Senator Kim Ward of Westmoreland County to run for U.S. Senate in 2012, PoliticsPA has learned.

“I have been approached by high ranking Republicans in the party, grassroots volunteers, and even some consultants about running for the US Senate seat in 2012,” confirmed Ward in an email.

A source close to the Pennsylvania Republican Party noted Ward’s profile as a strong statewide candidate. As a lifelong resident of southwestern Pennsylvania, Ward could cut into Casey’s support in that part of the state. Ward is a respiratory therapist by profession, and could appeal to working-class voters. Additionally, some Republican insiders believe that a female candidate could be more competitive across the state, particularly in southeastern Pennsylvania.

“Kim Ward is very popular, and a woman candidate would be interesting and attractive to a lot of Pennsylvanians,” confirmed Republican strategist Charlie Gerow. “She’s proven herself to be a vote-getter in an area that’s not a Republican-rich environment.”

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