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Top Republican on Judiciary Committee Says He’s Switching Parties

Posted Apr 28, 2009 11:31 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, says he’s changing political parties.

Specter announced today that he will run in 2010 as a Democrat, according to The Fix, a blog of the Washington Post.

"Since my election in 1980, as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the Republican Party has moved far to the right,” Specter said in a statement. “Last year, more than 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania changed their registration to become Democrats. I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans."

The switch may give Democrats a 60-vote filibuster-proof majority if Al Franken ultimately wins an election challenge in Minnesota, the New York Times reports at its blog, The Caucus.

Specter had been facing a tough primary fight from former Rep. Pat Toomey, the Post story says.

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