Republicans Lose in Chasing Out Specter

Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter switched his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat and announced that he will run in 2010 as a Democrat, according to a statement he released this morning. “I have decided to run for re-election in 2010 in the Democratic primary. I am ready, willing and anxious to take on all comers and have my candidacy for re-election determined in a general election.”

Paying the political price for his support of President Barack Obama’s Stimulus Plan, Specter trailed former Congressman Pat Toomey 41 – 27 percent in a Republican primary for the 2010 Senate race, with 28 percent undecided, according to a Quinnipiac University poll at the end of March. In a move called a “decision [representing] the height of political self-preservation,” by Sen. John Cornyn. He went on to say, “[w]hile this presents a short-term disappointment, voters next year will have a clear choice to cast their ballots for a potentially unbridled Democrat super-majority versus the system of checks-and-balances that Americans deserve.” The question is will a Pennsylvania electorate vote for a hard-line conservative after turning more and more blue over the past few election cycle?

The site has argued in the past why the Republicans need to hold on to moderates, even extreme ones like Specter. If you look at congressional records objectively you can see why. Democratic Sens. Nelson, Bayh and Lieberman have been given a lot of praise for their somewhat conservative stands over the years; and I would venture to guess the Republicans would be glad to have any of them switch parties and join the Republican ranks. In fact in 2008 many did lobby Lieberman to cross over. Ironically, Specter himself was quoted as being all for the Lieberman switch.

“I would like to see him vote with Republicans in September,” Specter said. “He’s practically there. That would have the consequence of giving us a Republican Senate.”

Now, if Republicans are so eager to celebrate centrist Democrats who agree with them some of the time, why are they so unwilling to hold onto centrist Republicans who agree with them most of the time? According to The Political Guide, since 1990, Arlen Specter has voted with the majority of his party 72.9% of the time and missed only 2.8% of the votes. In all likelihood PA is going to elect a Democrat in 2010 and the Republican party will miss out on those potential votes.

Believe me, I am no big fan of Specter and others like him who often cross the aisle and vote for things like the recent stimulus bill. However, I’d rather have them then lose a seat to the other side.

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