GOP's Specter Eyes Independent Run in 2010

Embattled GOP moderate rules out joining Dems but not doing a Leiberman
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 18, 2009 8:00 AM CDT
Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., walks across the train tracks at Washington's Union Station, Friday, March 13, 2009.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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(Newser) – Sen. Arlen Specter isn't going to switch sides and join the Democrats but he won't rule out running as an independent in 2010, the Pennsylvania Republican tells the Hill. Specter, under pressure from the GOP base since becoming one of just three Republican senators to support the stimulus package, says going independent is a last resort and he would still caucus with the Republicans.

Democratic heavyweights have tried to win over the moderate—who looks increasingly likely to lose the Republican primary—but Specter says the prospect of contributing to a filibuster-proof Democratic majority doesn't appeal. Each of the 41 GOP senators "is a national asset,” he said. "If one was gone, you’d only have 40, the Democrats would have 60, and they would control all of the mechanisms of government."