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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Specter Defects


Chris Cillizza, Washington Post:

Arlen SpecterPennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter will switch his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat, according to sources informed of the decision.

Specter's decision would give Democrats a 60 seat filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, assuming Democrat Al Franken is eventually sworn in as the next senator from Minnesota. (Former senator Norm Coleman is appealing Franken's victory in the state Supreme Court.)

Specter as a Democrat would also fundamentally alter the 2010 calculus in Pennsylvania, as he was expected to face a difficult primary challenge next year from former represenative Pat Toomey. The only announced Democrat in the race is former National Constitution Center head Joe Torsella, although several other candidates are looking at the race.

This is going to get ugly. The Republicans were already talking about how hard it would be to hold a filibuster-proof Senate back for the 2010 elections. The future arrived a little early.

Expect cries of "traitor!" and "turncoat!" from the right -- whose constant attacks on Specter's bipartisanship and centrism probably had a lot to do with this. Also expect the Franken/Coleman court battle to get even uglier and even stupider.

Things are going to get interesting.

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