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Specter Hit on Past Kagan Vote

Looks like Sen. Arlen Specter’s (D-Pa.) past vote against Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan has in fact become an issue in this last full week of his primary campaign.

His main opponent in Pennsylvania’s Democratic Senate primary, Rep. Joe Sestak, has released a statement attacking Specter for his vote against Kagan when she was up for Solicitor General last year.

My opponent, Sen. Specter, has already made his views about the president’s nominee clear by voting against her confirmation to be Solicitor General, even as seven of his fellow Republicans approved her nomination. I expect Sen. Specter may backtrack from his earlier vote on Ms. Kagan this week in order to help himself in the upcoming primary election, but the people of Pennsylvania have no way of knowing where he will stand after May 18.

Specter was still a Republican when he voted against Kagan. Sestak leads him by five percentage points in the latest Muhlenberg College tracking poll.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Specter’s campaign is directing reporters to his Senate office for comment. Former Club for Growth President Pat Toomey (R), who would likely be Specter’s main opponent in the general election, has not yet released a statement on this issue. I contacted Specter’s Senate office and Toomey’s campaign for comment last night but have not heard back yet.

Update at 2:10 p.m.: Specter’s Senate office released a statement in which he said he will keep his options open on Kagan’s confirmation.

I have an open mind about her nomination and hope she will address important questions related to her position on matters such as executive power, warrantless wiretapping, a woman’s right to choose, voting rights and congressional power.

*Update at 4 p.m.: *Nachama Soloveichik, communications director for Toomey’s campaign, sent me this statement from the candidate.

Every once in a while it would be refreshing if politicians did less talking and more listening. I look forward to listening to Ms. Kagan’s testimony, and to learning more about her views and background. I have an open mind about her nomination.

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