I haven’t been covering the early movements in the lead-up to the 2010 U.S. mid-term elections on this blog. One of the key contests has been shaping up to be in Pennsylvania, where moderate Republican Senator Arlen Specter was facing a challenge from conservative Republican Pat Toomey.
Toomey had challenged Specter in 2004, when the Republican establishment fell in behind Specter and saw him re-elected. Since 2004, however, much of the moderate Republican voter base has switched to become Independents or Democrats, and polls indicate Toomey was on track to win the primary, before being badly beaten by any old Democrat in the general election.
Well, Specter has now done what appears to have been inevitable in hindsight: he has switched to the Democratic Party, and will run as a Democrat in 2010. It looks likely that Specter will win the Democratic primary, and will likely defeat Toomey in the general election.
This decision also means that, once Senator Al Franken is seated, the Democrats will hold the vaunted 60 seats in the Senate, with prospects of more gains in 2010.