This makes it unlikely that Matthews would receive a free pass to the Democratic nomination. There are many ambitious Democratic politicians in Pennsylvania, and a chance to move up to the Senate doesn't come around often. Joe Sestak, a retired Navy vice admiral who won a Congressional seat from the Philadelphia suburbs in 2006, has encouraged talk of a future Senate campaign - and is also sitting on around $3 million in campaign funds. Allyson Schwartz, a congresswoman also from the Philadelphia area, also seems interested. In a crowded field, she could benefit as the sole female candidate. Other names figure to emerge. Defeat in a Democratic primary would be a very real prospect for Matthews.A lot of Hillary Clinton voters are still ticked off about Matthews clear campaigning against her in favor of Obama during the primaries. And this year demonstrated that there are a lot of Clinton voters in the Democratic primaries. Whether they'd carry their grudge over to a Senate primary fight two years later is questionable, but in a crowded field that could make a difference.
Despite his clownish aspects which have been on display this year, Matthews can have an appealing demeanor, certainly more appealing than Arlen Specter, and is quite knowledgeable about politics. He knows a lot of the political operatives in the business and could assemble a formidable team of workers. He is smart enough to realize that he can't depend on his celebrity status to waltz in and pick up the nomination.
But he needs to start raising the money and putting his team together now. And so MSNBC should put him on hiatus rather than allowing him the pretense that he isn't in the running and using his perch there to continue his visibility in the state. Whether MSNBC will display such journalistic ethics is, always, a question, but it would behoove them to have a serious conversation with Matthews about his future there.