Specter's Seniority Fight Threatens His Re-election
3:01 PM, Apr 30, 2009 • By BRIAN FAUGHNAN
It seems that one of the most important parts of Arlen Specter's deal to change parties is the assurance that he won't face a Democratic primary next year. Specter's votes for Justices Alito and Kennedy, his opposition to Card Check, the support he has received from people like George Bush and Rick Santorum -- all make him more vulnerable in a Democratic primary. And at least one heavyweight Democrat -- Representative Joe Sestak -- is not ready to rule out a primary against Specter.
And while Democratic Senators ought to be basking in the glow of their presumed 60-seat majority, it seems that backbiting rules the day instead. Senior Democrats are angry at Specter and Reid:
The dispute over Specter's seniority makes it harder to eliminate primary opponents -- and not just because some Democrats Senators may be angry with Specter over his seniority claims.
Most Democrats seem unable to imagine a day when Republicans again compete on a level playing field with Democrats. In a state like Pennsylvania -- which has trended blue -- few are likely to believe that a competitive Democratic primary threatens their hold on Specter's Senate seat. For senators who see Specter as a threat to seniority, the obvious answer would be to encourage a primary challenger. After all, if any Democrat will beat any Republican in that race -- as Democrats seem to think -- then a freshman Democrat Senator is far preferable to a Democratic Senator Specter.