Sen. Graham: I'm calling Ridge Wed. about running against Specter

Sen. Lindsey Graham suggested Tuesday night that he will court former Pennsylvania Republican Gov. Tom Ridge to run against Sen. Arlen Specter next year now that Specter has switched to the Democratic Party.

Graham, a South Carolina Republican, plans to start with a phone call to Ridge on Wednesday.

In an interview with Greta Van Susteren on Fox News' "On the Record," Graham said he believes Ridge could appeal to moderate Republicans and independents in Pennsylvania, perhaps more than former Congressman Pat Toomey, the Republican former president of the conservative Club for Growth who is already running in the Senate contest.

"We just need to get candidates that can relate to people in different regions of the country. I hope Pat Toomey can do that, but I think Tom Ridge could," Graham said. "The former governor of Pennsylvania is a social moderate, fiscal conservative, former Homeland Security secretary. I don't know if he'd run or not, but people.'

The specter of Ridge running was raised quickly yesterday upon news of Specter's defection from the GOP. Ridge, who served as a two-term governor in the mid-1990s and in the House before that, has always been considered politically ambitious. His name was floated as a possible running mate to former President George W. Bush in 2000 and GOP nominee John McCain (Ariz.) last year.

Graham went on to say he plans to reach out to Ridge Wednesday. "I'm going to call Tom Ridge tomorrow," Graham said.

jeremy.jacobs@thehill.com