Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Arlen Specter to Change Parties

On his web site today US Senator Arlen Specter of PA announced he will running in the 2010 Democratic primary. Specter says, “Since my election in 1980, as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the Republican Party has moved far to the right. Last year, more than 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania changed their registration to become Democrats. I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans.” Specter noted that when he voted for the stimulus spending plan he knew it would not be a popular decision among some in the Republican party. He says, “Since then, I have traveled the State, talked to Republican leaders and office-holders and my supporters and I have carefully examined public opinion. It has become clear to me that the stimulus vote caused a schism which makes our differences irreconcilable.” He goes on to say he is now unwilling to have his record as a Senator judged by the Pennsylvania Republican primary electorate. Specter says he is, “ready, willing and anxious to take on all comers and have my candidacy for re-election determined in a general election.” Democratic State Rep. Bill Kortz has already announced his candidacy. He says he will reevaluate that decision saying he will be even more of an underdog running against Specter. Specter says he regrets any disappointment he may have caused friends and supporters by making the decision to switch parties. He says he will return any campaign contributions if asked. Specter says he has never represented the Republican Party but instead he has represented the voters of Pennsylvania. He says, “The American people do not care which Party solves the problems confronting our nation. And no Senator, no matter how loyal he is to his Party, should or would put party loyalty above his duty to the state and nation.” He says he will continue his record of independent voting. Two conservative Republicans have already announced their candidacy. Former Congressman Pat Toomey and Peg Luksik have said they will run. Toomey lost to Specter in the 2004 primary by less than 2%. By changing Parties Specter helps Democrats move closer to a 60-vote Filibuster-resistant majority in the US Senate.

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