View Full Version : Senator Spector becomes a Democrat

04-28-2009, 11:31 AM

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Veteran Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter switched from the Republican to the Democratic Party on Tuesday, saying he has found himself increasingly "at odds with the Republican philosophy."
"This is a painful decision. I know I'm disappointing many of my colleagues," he said at a news conference announcing the move. "The disappointment runs in both directions.

"I'm putting principle at the top of the list," he added.

The switch puts Senate Democrats one vote shy of a filibuster-proof majority of 60 seats. They can reach the 60-seat mark if Al Franken holds his current lead in the disputed Minnesota Senate race.

"As the Republican Party has moved farther and farther to the right, I have found myself increasingly at odds with the Republican philosophy and more in line with the philosophy of the Democratic Party," Specter said.

"In the course of the last several months ... I have traveled the state and surveyed the sentiments of the Republican Party in Pennsylvania and public opinion polls, observed other public opinion polls and have found that the prospects for winning a Republican primary are bleak."

Specter, a five-term Senate veteran, was facing what most political observers believed would have been a tough fight for the Pennsylvania GOP Senate nomination in 2010.

Specter said President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid would campaign for him as he runs for re-election -- now on the Democratic ticket -- in the 2010 race.

Obama called Specter shortly after learning the news during his daily economic briefing in the Oval Office on Tuesday morning, according to a senior administration official.

"You have my full support, and we're thrilled to have you," Obama told Specter.

Jubilant Senate Democrats also welcomed the news.
"Sen. Specter and I have had a long dialogue about his place in an evolving Republican party," Reid, D-Nevada, said in a written statement.

"We have not always agreed on every issue, but [he] has shown a willingness to work in a bipartisan manner, put people over party and do what is right for Pennsylvanians and all Americans."

Reid called Specter a "man of honor and integrity" who would be welcome in the Democratic caucus.

One key Senate Democrat warned that reaching the 60-vote mark would not automatically ensure a Democratic victory on every major issue.

"It's great news," North Dakota Sen. Kent Conrad said. But it means "a lot less" than some people think.

"The Democratic caucus is not homogenous. [There is a] lot of disagreement in the Democratic caucus, so this idea that it's some great watershed event ... I don't think so."

Neither party has had a filibuster-proof majority in the U.S. Senate since the 95th Congress, from 1977 to 1979. The Democrats controlled 62 seats during the first two years of the Carter presidency.

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele ripped Specter, calling him a Republican in name only who was out of step with the rest of the party because of his "left-wing voting record."

"Some in the Republican Party are happy about this. I am not," Steele said in a written statement. "Let's be honest -- Sen. Specter didn't leave the GOP based on principles of any kind. He left to further his personal political interests because he knew that he was going to lose a Republican primary due to his left-wing voting record."

Steele said Republicans "look forward to beating Sen. Specter in 2010, assuming the Democrats don't do it first."

Specter was expected to face a very tough primary challenge in 2010 from former Rep. Pat Toomey, who nearly defeated Specter in the Pennsylvania GOP Senate primary in 2004. Watch why Specter decided to switch

A Quinnipiac University survey of registered Pennsylvania voters released last month showed Specter trailing the more conservative Toomey in a hypothetical primary matchup, 41 to 27 percent.

A separate Franklin & Marshall survey showed Specter leading Toomey 33 to 18 percent. Another 42 percent, however, were undecided.

More than half of the Republicans polled in the Franklin & Marshall survey said they would prefer to see someone new in the Senate.

Numerous Republicans are angry with Specter over his recent vote in support of President Obama's $787 billion stimulus plan.

"When the stimulus package came up for a vote, I felt that it was indispensable to vote aye in order to avoid the possibility of a 1929-type depression," Specter said. He said that the vote highlighted a "schism" and an "irreconcilable conflict" between himself and the bulk of the GOP.

Specter, one of only three GOP senators to vote for the measure, has been part of a dwindling group of GOP moderates from the northeastern part of the country.

The 79-year-old former Philadelphia district attorney won his first of five Senate terms in 1980. He has been a leading Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee for much of the past two decades, serving as its chairman from 2005 to 2007.

Specter served on the Warren Commission, which investigated the 1963 assassination of President Kennedy. He has survived bouts with cancer three times, most recently undergoing chemotherapy for Hodgkin's disease in 2005.

04-28-2009, 11:47 AM
Did someone post this earlier?

04-28-2009, 12:01 PM
Did someone post this earlier?

twice :)

04-28-2009, 12:01 PM
where'd it go?

04-28-2009, 12:04 PM
i see it was in OT, but this is politics?

04-28-2009, 12:06 PM
where'd it go?

http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=178170&highlight=spector appears to the the "official thread". Looks like there has been some thread merging into that thread.

04-28-2009, 12:08 PM
So does this make him a DINO?

04-28-2009, 12:13 PM
So does this make him a DINO?

No it makes him another politician seeking re-election with regrettably the stronger party, due to how pathetic the Republicans are right now.

04-28-2009, 12:13 PM
he just another lieberman. Joe switched to (I) because he couldn't win as a (D)

04-28-2009, 12:38 PM
I don't see how this changes the balance in Senate though. He voted with the Democrats most of the time, anyway. I actually thought he was a Democrat at first, not sure why, probably because of his views, and was surprised to find out he was a Republican.

04-28-2009, 12:41 PM
I can't imagine his "colleagues" were disappointed, now they can finally run someone up against him.

04-28-2009, 12:44 PM
U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut served as a Democrat but was defeated for the Democratic nomination in the 2006 primary by businessman Ned Lamont by a 52%-48% margin. Lieberman decided to run as a third party candidate in the general election and won under the self-created Connecticut for Lieberman party, defeating Lamont the official Democratic candidate and the Republican candidate with 50 percent of the vote. Lieberman decided to caucus with the Democrats in the 110th United States Congress, referring to himself as "an Independent Democrat, capital I, capital D," in an interview with Tim Russert on NBC's Meet the Press a week following the midterm elections, thus assuring Senate Democrats that they would hold the 51-49 majority they won in that year's elections.

Lieberman is officially listed as an "Independent Democrat" in U.S. Senate records for the 111th Congress.[4] This is distinct from Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who is officially listed as an Independent (not an "Independent Democrat"), but also caucuses with the Democrats.

04-28-2009, 1:18 PM
I can't imagine his "colleagues" were disappointed, now they can finally run someone up against him.

They already had a conservative challenger lined up against him for the primary. In the last election Pennsylvania saw many moderate Republican voters switch parties. Specter saw the writing on the wall, he was going to have a tough time wining the nomination with the now more conservative (and also smaller) Pennsylvania Republican party. The Dems will give him a trouble free nomination and money - and he will win in the general election.

04-28-2009, 1:22 PM
I don't see how this changes the balance in Senate though. He voted with the Democrats most of the time, anyway. I actually thought he was a Democrat at first, not sure why, probably because of his views, and was surprised to find out he was a Republican.

he was a democrat at one time in local politics, he switched and has claimed to be a republican since.