This Won’t Help Specter in 2010
When Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania defected to the Democratic Party last week, there were questions about just what kind of deals had been cut with Democratic leaders to secure the leap. Specter himself fueled the speculation when, during the press conference announcing his switch, he told reporters that he’d worked out an arrangement where he’d “be where I would be had I been a Democrat coming into the Senate with my election in 1980″ — a pact that would have placed him in senior positions on all five of the Senate committees where he sits.
Scrap all that.
The Senate last night voted to boot Specter to the back bench of four of those panels — Appropriations, Environment and Public Works, Judiciary and Veterans’ Affairs — while he’ll sit second to last on the Special Committee on Aging.
Paul Kane of The Washington Post points out today why all of this is significant:
The loss of seniority could prove costly to Specter in his campaign to win reelection in 2010, denying him the ability to distinguish himself from a newcomer in his ability to claim key positions.
Specter said last week that becoming chairman of the Appropriations Committee was a personal goal of his, and his Senate service seemed to put him in position to be the third-ranking Democrat there. Now, though, he will not hold even an Appropriations subcommittee chairmanship in 2011 — a critical foothold Specter has used to send billions of dollars to Pennsylvania.
Unfortunately, the Senate move was done by voice vote, so we’ll never know who voted how.
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