Sen. Arlen Specter is set to change his registration and become a member of the Democratic Party. This is significant news because it may mean passage of the EFCA. At least I hope Democrats held out for that concession. The Republican Senator was a Democrat in his younger days before switching to the GOP. He has always been very independently minded and I doubt that will change.
My days as a prognosticator are over since I predicted he’d either remain a Republican or retire. Switching Parties is a desperation move and it’s amazing what Senators will do (Joe Lieberman anyone???) to keep their seats.
This raises quite a few questions: did Democrats promise he wouldn’t have a primary challenge and, if so, what does Joe Torsella do with all the cash he raised from Gov. Rendell, Peter Buttonweiser and the other PA Dem Party heavyweights? How about the campaign being put together by Josh Shapiro and the obvious ambitions of Joe Sestak, Patrick Murphy and others rumored to be thinking about the race? Will Specter’s absence bring a moderate challenger to Pat Toomey and Peg Luksik?
Specter gives Democrats their 60th vote once sore loser Norm Coleman is forced to concede in Minnesota. Of course Arlen Specter is anything but a reliable vote for either party. His lack of support for the Employee Free Choice Act could mean organized labor uniting against another Democrat in a primary. This move doesn’t make sense for Specter unless he has agreed to support EFCA.
Update: Rep. Josh Shapiro, according to PoliticsPA,say he will not run for the U.S. Senate. Congressman Jason Altmire released this statement:
“Senator Arlen Specter has been a courageous and independent leader throughout his career. Today’s announcement is one more example of Senator Specter’s determination to do what he thinks is right for the people of Pennsylvania.
“Regardless of party affiliation, I have worked with Senator Specter in the past to strengthen our economy and help Pennsylvania families, and I look forward to continuing to do so in the future.”