Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA)

(No, that's not a mistake.)

Just a few minutes ago, Sen. Arlen Specter decided to switch his party affiliation, to run as a Democrat in 2010.

Yesterday, we spoke with the senator, mostly about an article he wrote for The New York Review of Books. But in the course of the conversation, Neal read an email from Russ:

Many suspect strongly that Republicans are going to dump Senator Specter in the coming midterm elections. Many Pennsylvania Democrats would support him as an independent, myself included, but we are watching his record carefully.

Neal continued, "Well, that election is, I guess, more than a year away. Senator Specter, nevertheless, in opinion polls currently, you trail a Republican opponent."

In retrospect, the Senator's response is very illuminating:

Well, it is true that the polls are bleak. When I voted for the stimulus package, one of just three, and was in position, along with Senator Snowe and Senator Collins, to provide the decisive votes, there was a very strong adverse reaction. There was a resolution filed in state committee to censure me. The state chairman and the national chairman said they didn't know if they could support me. My office was picketed. And it's a tough proposition. I've overcome some challenges before, and I'm working on a game plan.

So, it seems, he has.



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