HUMAN EVENTS has learned from staff sources that Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa) is about to announce his switch to the Democratic Party.
Specter, a five-term Republican and ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, is facing a tough primary challenge next year from former Club for Growth president Pat Toomey. He was one of the three Republicans to support President Obama’s stimulus bill, and his liberal approach to many issues — from his devoted opposition to the Supreme Court nomination of Robert Bork to his support for illegal alien amnesty programs — earned him a low ACU rating of 43 in 2006. This switch will give the Democrats their 60-seat filibuster-proof majority.
According to the Washington Post, Specter said today, "I have decided to run for re-election in 2010 in the Democratic primary," said Specter in a statement. "I am ready, willing and anxious to take on all comers and have my candidacy for re-election determined in a general election."
The Post also reports that he added: "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."
UPDATE: U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell issued the following statement Tuesday about Sen. Specter:
“Well, obviously we are not happy that Senator Specter has decided to become a Democrat. He visited with me in my office late yesterday afternoon and told me quite candidly that he’d been informed by his pollster that it would be impossible for him to be re-elected in Pennsylvania as a Republican because he could not win the primary. And he was also informed by his pollster that he could not get elected as an Independent and indicated that he had decided to become a Democrat.”
Sign up to the Human Events newsletter