Chris Matthews

Chris Matthews might be on the move from MSNBC to D.C., should he decide to run for one of Pennsylvania's seats in the United States Senate.

The Patriot-News of Harrisburg, reports that the Hardball host and Philadelphia native has met with Democratic Party officials to discuss challenging Republican Sen. Arlen Specter in 2010.

Pennsylvania Democratic Party executive director Mary Isenhour's take-away from the confab was that Matthews has "got a lot of things he still needs to consider....  I think he's going to put some thought into it before he jumps in."

Matthews has not yet confirmed his intention to run, but on Friday deemed  "absolutely not true" one political site's report that he had already started assembling a campaign staff.

Specter, the longest-serving senator in Pennsylvania history, would be 80 at the time of another re-election. Matthews — who in addition to his duties on Hardball and as a political commentator for NBC's Today has served as President Jimmy Carter's speech writer and as an aide to former House Speaker "Tip" O'Neill Jr. — could put up a decent fight if he seeks to unseat the veteran senator.

"Matthews understands politics," G. Terry Madonna, a public affairs specialist from Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Penn., told the Patriot-News. "We'll look at his strengths and weaknesses if he decides to run, but at the moment, he's very formidable."

Yet not infallible. A brand-new poll from Quinnipiac University gives Specter a 45 percent to 33 percent edge over Matthews, whose reach beyond the cable-news arena might prove limited. Notes Isenhour, "[The] little old lady who's out there watching Jeopardy! when he's on TV ... doesn't know who Chris Matthews is."