WASHINGTON -- U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan (R., Pa.) is emerging as one of the first names on the list of Republicans considering a run against Sen. Bob Casey (D., Pa.) in 2018.

Though the dust is still settling from this past election, some in Pennsylvania are already turning their eyes to the next round of elections, when Casey will be on the ballot and the state could again host one of the country's toughest Senate contests.

As Republicans look to use a favorable political map to expand their Senate majority, Meehan, of Delaware County, has already fielded calls gauging his interest, and is open to the idea of running, though he has not reached a decision, according to a source close to the congressman. The source requested anonymity to discuss Meehan's thinking.

Meehan, a former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, just won his fourth term in Congress. He sits on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, and as of his latest disclosures had $2.2 million in campaign cash on hand.

Casey, now in his second term, had $1.5 million.

Casey will be running in a mid-term year, when there is often a backlash against the party in power in the White House. But it's also the kind of election when Republicans usually have an advantage in Pennsylvania, because fewer Democrats typically turn out when there is no presidential race.

Republicans may also be buoyed by their success this year, when Donald Trump turned the state red for the first time since 1988 and Sen. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.) was reelected.

Republicans looking to move to statewide office may also eye the 2018 governor's race. Meehan's name will surely be one of several in the mix for each contest.

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