Senator Arlen Specter has dropped a bombshell today! The veteran Republican is switching political parties because he says that his beliefs line up more with the Democrats. Others are saying that this whole move is all about self-preservation. Many also believe that Sen. Specter would have lost the GOP primary.
Whatever the reason,the Democrats are happy to have him.Because if Al Franken gets his Senate seat,then the Democrats will have the 60 seats that they need to control the Senate! Here’s more from cbs5.com:
Saying he now finds his “political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans,” Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter, now a Republican, has announced that he will run for reelection as a Democrat in 2010.
Specter, a 79-yar-old fifth-term senator, wrote in a statement that he has been a Republican since 1966 and was elected in 1980 “as part of the Reagan Big Tent.” Since then, however, “the Republican Party has moved far to the right.”
He suggested his support for the economic stimulus package ultimately led to the decision.
“It has become clear to me that the stimulus vote caused a schism which makes our differences irreconcilable,” he wrote. Specter said he knew his support for the bill would not be popular in the Party but that he saw the bill “as necessary to lessen the risk of a far more serious recession than we are now experiencing.”
The Democrats now hold 58 Senate seats, and are likely to have 59 with the seating of Minnesota Democrat Al Franken, which is most likely to take place in June. Specter’s vote would give the party the 60 votes it needs to avoid a Republican filibuster and pass legislation without the support of the minority party.
Specter plans to hold a news conference later today to explain he will be switching parties and if and when he will begin caucusing with the Democrats.
He vowed, however, that his “change in party affiliation does not mean that I will be a party-line voter any more for the Democrats that I have been for the Republicans.”
“Unlike Senator Jeffords’ switch which changed party control, I will not be an automatic 60th vote for cloture,” he said. “For example, my position on Employees Free Choice (Card Check) will not change.” (Specter opposes the union- and Democrat-backed bill.)
Specter had been facing a tough GOP primary fight – a January poll found that he was trailing Republican Congressman Pat Toomey 41 percent to 27 percent among primary voters in the state. The fact that the state’s GOP primary is closed meant that the relatively moderate Specter could not depend on the support of independents or moderates to get him past Toomey.
The Associated Press, citing a senior White House official, reports that President Obama was handed a note during his daily economic briefing this morning announcing Specter’s plans to switch parties. The president reportedly called Specter at 10:32 a.m. ET and said “you have my full support,” adding that the Democratic Party is “thrilled to have you.”(End of Excerpt) Read the rest here.