Don Bailey, Pennsylvania state auditor and former congressman from the Pittsburgh area, has formally announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate seat held by Republican incumbent Arlen Specter. Bailey, a conservative on social issues and a hawk on defense, is a decorated combat hero of the Vietnam war who has earned the nickname "Rambo" for his outspoken defense of the war.

His competitor for the Democratic nomination is Rep. Bob Edgar, a liberal and an ordained Methodist minister with an earnest, nice-guy image. He has an uncanny ability to win a Philadelphia suburban district that is home of one of the oldest Republican organizations in the country -- and intruded on Bailey's turf to get the United Steelworkers' union endorsement last Friday.

In what is expected to be a close and expensive race, Bailey and Edgar will battle for the 25 to 30 percent of the electorate in the central region between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. So far, Bailey has raised almost $500,000 while Edgar has raised $700,000 and expects to raise and spend over $1 million for the May 20 primary.

Former Philadelphia mayor William Green apparently has decided against entering this race. Former Pittsburgh mayor Pete Flaherty is still thinking about it.