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  Sen Specter Gets A New Vantage Point The Speakers LobbyApril 30, 2009 07:17 Newly-minted Dem senator Arlen Specter, who left the GOP party earlier this week after decades, will have a new location on the Senate floor to match his party switch when the chamber opens for business today.

His desk was relocated last night out of the sight of cameras, unlike the pomp and circumstance that surrounded Jim Jeffords in 2001 when he changed parties from GOP to Independent. Then, we got an actual photo op of the big event. This time, not even an announcement from Majority Leader Reid’s office, merely a note from our Radio/TV Gallery.

Perhaps this echoes the sentiment conveyed by the Leader earlier in the week that “now is not a time for gloating.” Bipartisanship is still a stated goal of the White House and Dem party, so it might look a little snarkie to be too joyful over some furniture switching, however historic it might be.

His desk placement reflects his seniority, as if he was a Democrat from the time he entered the Senate in 1980. He’s near the middle of the chamber, about midway to the well, between Patrick Leahy, D-VT, and Chris Dodd, D-CT.
  Sen. Arlen Specter Switches To Democratic PartyApril 28, 2009 10:45 Democrats are closer to having the 60 votes needed to overcome procedural hurdles in the Senate now that Sen. Arlen Specter, the longtime Pennsylvania Republican, has decided to switch parties.

"I have decided to run for re-election in 2010 in the Democratic primary," Specter said in a statement published Tuesday on Politico's Web site. "I am ready, willing and anxious to take on all comers and have my candidacy for re-election determined in a general election."

Specter faced a strong challenge in the Republican primary from conservative Pat Toomey, a former House member.

"I am unwilling to have my 29-year Senate record judged by the Pennsylvania Republican primary electorate," the statement read. "I have not represented the Republican Party. I have represented the people of Pennsylvania."

Specter said he knows he "will be disappointing many friends and supporters," but he is "disappointed that so many in the party I have worked for for more than four decades do not want me to be their candidate."