Akido37 was one of many readers letting us know that US Sen. Arlen Specter has changed parties to become a Democrat. This gives the Democrats 59 seats in the Senate, and 60 if and when Al Franken gets seated from Minnesota. However, Specter said in his announcement that he will not be an automatic 60th vote for breaking Republican filibusters. While the senator's move seems to have surprised many Republicans, it is understandable to moderate Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, who said, "You haven't certainly heard warm encouraging words of how they [Republicans] view moderates. Either you are with us or against us." Specter noted that in his home state of Pennsylvania, 200,000 formerly Republican voters switched party allegiance last year.
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