Coleman Gaffe Costs Specter Seniority on Senate Panels

Dems disappoint defector with junior slots after he speaks up for Coleman
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 6, 2009 3:10 AM CDT
Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania discusses his conversion to the Democratic Party at the White House with President Barack Obama in Washington last month.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
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(Newser) – Party-switcher Arlen Specter's comment that Republican Norm Coleman should be Minnesota's senator cost him seniority on Senate panels yesterday, a source told Politico. His gaffe was the final straw for Senate Dems already angry about the prospect of being bumped from senior positions by the 29-year senator. A resolution last night switched Specter to the Democratic side of the five panels he serves on. But contrary to what he expected, Specter was placed in junior slots, reports the Washington Post.

His seniority will be reconsidered after the 2010 election—when top Senate committee posts would have been a key selling point to Pennsylvania voters. Specter had told the New York Times that Minnesota courts should do what's just and declare Coleman the winner in Minnesota. He later said he "misspoke." In "the swirl of moving from one caucus to another, I have to get used to my new teammates,” Specter told CQPolitics.