WASHINGTON - Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter will switch his party affiliation
from Republican to Democrat and announced today that he will run in
2010 as a Democrat, according to a statement he released this morning.
Specter's decision would give Democrats a 60 seat filibuster proof
majority in the Senate assuming Democrat Al Franken is eventually sworn
in as the next Senator from Minnesota. (Former Sen. Norm Coleman is
appealing Franken's victory in the state Supreme Court.)
"I have decided to run for re-election in 2010 in the Democratic
primary," said Specter in a statement. "I am ready, willing and anxious
to take on all comers and have my candidacy for re-election determined
in a general election."
He added: "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 as a Democrat would also fundamentally alter the 2010
calculus in Pennsylvania as he was expected to face a difficult primary
challenge next year from former Rep. Pat Toomey. The only announced Democrat in the race is former National Constitution Center head Joe Torsella although several other candidates are looking at the race.