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Arlen Specter, Loyal Democrat (For Now)

July 27, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Nate Silver at Five Thirty Eight has been tracking Sen. Arlen Specter’s [D, PA] votes in the Senate since his switch from the Republican party to the Democrats in April.

In the first month or so after becoming a Democrat, Specter was voting with his new party about two-thirds of the time on these Contentious Votes. While there are some less loyal Democrats — say, Ben Nelson of Nebraska — who only vote with their party about half the time, this was certainly less than what most Democratic observers were hoping for.

But since then, indeed, something has changed. Well, a couple of things have changed. On May 27th, Congressman Joe Sestak announced that he intended to challenge Specter for the Democratic nomination. And since that time, Specter has voted with his party on 28 out of 29 Contentious Votes, or 97 percent of the time.

The one vote Specter split from the Democrats on recently was on an amendment from Sen. Jim DeMint [R, SC] “to require the completion of at least 700 miles of reinforced fencing along the southwest border by December 31, 2010.” Twenty other Democrats also voted for that amendment.

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