Republican Senator Arlen Specter (Pennsylvania) has decided to become a Democrat.
Specter, who was facing heavy opposition in the 2010 primary, says he is making the switch after his vote for the recent stimulus bill highlighted what have become irreconcilable differences in the increasingly far-right Republican Party.
“I am unwilling to have my twenty-nine year Senate record judged by the Pennsylvania Republican primary electorate. I have not represented the Republican Party. I have represented the people of Pennsylvania.”
Specter’s constituents have changed, so why wouldn’t Specter? And in that vein, why haven’t more Republicans done the same?
“Since my election in 1980, as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the Republican Party has moved far to the right. Last year, more than 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania changed their registration to become Democrats. I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans.”
Specter, who will, with soon-to-be-Senator Al Franken, will create the magic number 60–the number of votes needed to prevent a GOP filibuster. However, Specter cautions,
“Whatever my party affiliation, I will continue to be guided by President Kennedy’s statement that sometimes Party asks too much. When it does, I will continue my independent voting and follow my conscience on what I think is best for Pennsylvania and America.”