Long-time U.S. Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania made it official today that he is switching from the Republican to Democratic Party. But he said he would not be "an automatic 60th vote" for the Democrats and Obama Administration to head off filibustering in the Senate by Republicans. Specter says he's switching because the Republican Party in Pennsylvania has shifted very far to the right and that he travelled across the state and did polling and discovered his chances for winning the GOP Primary in May 2010 were "bleak." He said he did not want to have his 29 years in the Senate decided by a "jury" of the Republican Primary electorate. Instead he will run in the Democratic Primary and says that President Obama has promised to visit Pennsylvania and campaign for him. Specter said it was a "painful decision" to switch and he knows he is disappointing some friends and colleagues, but he has been disappointed by some of the comments they have made. Specter says he agrees with President John F. Kennedy "that sometimes the party asks too much" and if the Democrats ask too much, he will maintain his independence and put his principles at the top of the list.
Recent polls have shown former Congressman Pat Toomey well ahead of Specter among Republican voters for the 2010 GOP Primary.