Pro-Abortion Republican Senator Arlen Specter Switches Parties, Now a Democrat

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 28, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Abortion Republican Senator Arlen Specter Switches Parties, Now a Democrat

by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 28
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — Republican senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania has never felt at home in the Republican Party in part because of his pro-abortion position and now he has switched parties.

The move comes on a day when members of the Senate could engage in the first vote to stop a filibuster against the Obama administration’s pro-abortion agenda.

Specter has been in Congress for decades but he shocked the political world by announcing that he would become a Democrat and seek re-election next year within the party of President Barack Obama.

"I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans," Specter announced on his campaign Web site. "I have decided to run for re-election in 2010 in the Democratic primary."

Specter acknowledged that the decision is party to do with the fact that Republicans in Pennsylvania are increasingly looking to other candidates to represent them in the 2010 Senate race in the key political state.

Former Republican congressman Pat Toomey, who is pro-life has been putting together hard-charging campaigns to defeat Specter in the Republican primary for the seat.

"I deeply regret that I will be disappointing many friends and supporters," he said. "I can understand their disappointment. I am also disappointed that so many in the party I have worked for more than four decades do not want me to be their candidate."

The final move came after a recent poll showing Toomey performing well in a potential primary matchup against the longtime abortion advocate.

For the pro-life community, the move makes it more likely that Specter will oppose efforts by Republican lawmakers, most of whom are pro-life, to stop Obama’s pro-abortion judicial picks and his efforts to railroad a pro-abortion health care package through the Senate.

The switch puts Democrats within one vote of a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.

Democrats currently hold 56 seats in the Senate, and two independents typically vote with the party. Republicans have 41 seats, and there is one vacancy, that is expected to go to pro-abortion Democrat Al Franken of Minnesota.

Specter denied that he would automatically vote with Democrats on judicial nominees.

"My change in party affiliation does not mean that I will be a party-line voter any more for the Democrats that I have been for the Republicans," he said in the statement.

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