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April 28, 2009


Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter announced today that he is switching his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat.

This move will give the Democrats a filibuster proof majority once Al Franken is finally sworn in. Franken's opponent, former senator Norm Coleman, has made his last-ditch effort by appealing the vote results to the Minnesota state Supreme Court. They're now just waiting for the final decision. Franken's lead has increased with each successive recount and challenge and it is expected that the Supreme Court will find in his favor as well.

In a statement published in today's Washington Post, Specter said:

"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."

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."

Just minutes after the Senator's announcement, President Obama called and told him that he has his full support and that the Democrats were thrilled to have him in their party.

The Senator has served in the Senate since 1980 and has a reputation for being a moderate with conservative views on crime, national security, and 2nd Amendment Rights, and liberal views on abortion, illegal immigration and the environment.

His record on GLBT issues reflects his moderate, political duality. He voted to prohibit job discrimination based on sexual orientation but then voted against including sexual orientation in the definition of hate crimes. He is opposed to same-sex marriages but, like Obama, supports Civil Unions.

Given what's been happening around the country lately and given the Senator's demonstrated ability to change his mind on issues, I do expect him to eventually reconsider his more negative GLBT positions. As more and more polls continue to show steadily increasing support for gay marriage, ENDA, the hate crimes bill, repealing DOMA and DADT and the GLBT community in general, the Senator's positions will probably start changing sooner rather than later. He's NOT one of the fanatics. That's why he left the Republican Party.