Specter: I'm Not 'Automatic 60th Vote' for Dems

GOP colleagues 'stunned,' angered by senator's party switch
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 28, 2009 3:14 PM CDT
Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pa., speaks at a news conference today.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Newly minted Democrat Arlen Specter said he will not blindly toe the party line, Politico reports. “I will not be an automatic 60th vote,” the veteran Pennsylvania senator said, pointing out recent opposition to a unionization bill. “If the Democratic Party asks too much, I will not vote with them.”

The reaction from Republicans, meanwhile, ranged from shock to anger. “I’m stunned,” said, Sen. San Brownback “I had no idea this was coming.” Said Sen. Olympia Snowe: “The blunt reality is that we’re losing another key moderate who has played a key role in the Republican Party.” And in a statement, Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele snarled, “Some in the Republican Party are happy about this. I am not. … Republicans look forward to beating Sen. Specter in 2010, assuming the Democrats don’t do it first.”