Arlen Specter, who spent 30 years representing Pennsylvania in the Senate offended Republicans and Democrats in almost equal measures with maverick votes and a frank cockiness that finally ended his career in politics, died Sunday at his home in Philadelphia. He was 82
Specter, who had battled a number of major illnesses in recent years, including non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, was a hard-driving former prosecutor described even by some admirers as sarcastic. But he stood well above many of his Senate colleagues in his combination of intelligence and effectiveness.
Specter won no lasting gratitude from either liberals or conservatives during his career, and he especially alienated women.
After yet another “betrayal” of Republicans on the 2009 stimulus plan, he was forced to make the most dramatic leap in a career that was full of them. But this time he did not make it across the chasm. Facing defeat in the 2010 Republican primary election, Specter surprised the nation by announcing in April 2009 that he was switching parties – for a second time. (In 1965 he switched from Democrat to Republican after winning election as Philadelphia district attorney on the Republican ticket in an end-run around the city’s Democratic machine.)
His Senate change delivered a veto-proof majority there to President Obama. But not for long. Pennsylvania Democrats, many of whom had voted against him for years, refused to accept his final conversion. The party change did not secure his position, however. He avoided the Republican primary but got smacked in the Democratic primary. His career ended.
- Arlen Specter, dead at 82 (illinoisreview.typepad.com)
- Former Sen. Arlen Specter dies at 82 (rawstory.com)
- Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter Dies [Rip] (gawker.com)
- Former U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter dead at 82 (riehlworldview.com)
- Former Senator Arlen Specter Dies of Cancer (voanews.com)
- Sen. Arlen Specter Dies At 82 (npr.org)
- Former Sen. Arlen Specter dead at 82 (dailykos.com)
…in this morning’s PPM Poll.
On Tuesday the Democratic-leaning polling firm PPP released findings showing Sestak leading his Republican challenger, former Club for Growth President Pat Toomey, for the first time this cycle: 46 percent to 45 percent. Sestak’s campaign did not pay for the poll, which was done with recorded voice interviews and with respondents sampled from actual voter lists. A day prior, the odds-makers at ABC News had moved the race from “lean Republican” to “toss up.”
The dual pieces of news added a jolt of hope to Democratic Party infrastructure, which had been waiting for weeks for some upward movement from the Sestak campaign. It also jarred loose a sense of déjà vu for those who watched the congressman close the gap against Senator Arlen Specter (D-Penn.) during the closing days of the Senate primary.
“This is his shtick,” said one high-ranking operative.
Last week when Sestak came out with this ad, people said things would start turning around:
Toomey has now blown a ten point lead from two weeks ago. This is one worth watching!
- New Public Policy Polling survey confirms internal polls that show Sestak and Toomey in dead heat (pennlive.com)
- Sestak Catches Toomey in Pennsylvania (politicalwire.com)
- Sestak Making a Race of It? (talkingpointsmemo.com)