Specter not worried about loss of seniority

    Senator Arlen Specter is downplaying the Democratic caucus’ decision to strip him of committee seniority.

    Senator Arlen Specter is downplaying the Democratic caucus’ decision to strip him of committee seniority. But critics say the move takes away a key argument the longtime incumbent has been making for his re-election in 2010, his first bid as a Democrat.

    Listen:
    [audio: 090506sdsenior.mp3]

    Specter justified his party switch by arguing it would let him keep fighting for medical research funding and other issues he says are critical for Pennsylvanians.

    But now he’s gone from a senior Republican and ranking member to the most junior Democrat on the five committees he sits on.

    Specter has campaigned on the argument his seniority puts him in the position to bring funding into the commonwealth, but Pennsylvania Republican Party spokesman Michael Barley says that issue is now off the table.

    Barley: As a Democrat, he really has no more standing than a newly-elected Republican’s going to have. So we feel like we have a good chance coming in here.

    In a statement, Specter says he’s confident his seniority would be restored by Democrats after the 2010 election.

    Democratic Congressman Joe Sestak, who’s been a vocal Specter critic since the Senator switched parties, says he doesn’t think committee seniority will be a pressing issues for voters next year.

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