Former U.S. Attorney Pat Meehan is dropping his exploratory bid for the Republican nomination for governor and "seriously considering" running for the 7th District congressional seat now held by Rep. Joe Sestak (D.,Pa.) who is running for Senate.

Meehan's spokesman, Virginia Davis, said in a statement moments ago: "Pat received a warm welcome from people of all walks of life as he explored his run for governor. And during the past year he has become uniquely attuned to the concerns of Pennsylvania citizens in these tough economic times. Pat is more commited than ever to helping Pennsylvania return to a path of prosperity, and he is now seriously considering a run for congress in the Seventh Congressional District to fulfill that commitment."

Through Davis, he went on to endorse Attorney General Tom Corbett for governor in 2010.

Translation: Meehan's campaign never really took off. Corbett was too far ahead in money and endorsements. It did not help that GOP National Committeman Bob Asher, the power in Meehan's SE Pennsylvania base, was behind Corbett.

Meehan also would have faced competition for regional support from U.S. Rep. Jim Gerlach (R.,Pa.), of the 6th Congressional District in Chester and Berks counties. Gerlach, after laying the groundwork for the past six months, announced two weeks ago that he would not run for reelection but instead would run for governor next year. Corbett is from Allegheny County and he won-reelection as attorney general last year against a Democratic tide, a bright spot for the GOP. Corbett is the only potential Republican candidate from western Pennsylvania.

A former political operative for both Arlen Specter and Rick Santorum, Meehan served as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania during the administration of President George W. Bush. In that position, Meehan spearheaded two notable prosecutions of political corruption - in former Mayor John Street's inner circle and of former state Sen. Vincent J. Fumo, recently sentenced to four years, seven months in federal prison.

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