Specter Defects to Democrats

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 28, 2009 11:38 AM CDT
In this 2008 file photo, Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Arlen Specter is jumping to the Democrats, leaving the party excruciatingly close to a filibuster-proof Senate majority, reports Politico. Sources say VP Joe Biden was key to the effort to recruit the Pennsylvania senator. “Since my election in 1980, as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the Republican Party has moved far to the right,” Specter said in a statement. “I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans.”

Specter said his pro-stimulus vote angered so many Republicans he didn’t want to run in a GOP primary. He said he'd return any recent campaign contributions on request. The move bodes well for President Obama’s agenda, and could revive hopes of passing the Employee Free Choice Act, but it’ll also raise the stakes of the Minnesota race, giving Republicans incentive to drag it on longer.