The Plank

Can Specter Pull A Lieberman?

Mickey asks whether Arlen Specter, who's facing a challenge from the right in the GOP primary, can pull a Lieberman and run as an independent? Mickey gets an answer that Pennsylvania election law prohibits Specter from doing the full Lieberman--i.e. lose his primary and then run as an independent--but that he could do a modified Lieberman by dropping out of the GOP primary and running as an independent. 

But would that even work? Remember, the only reason Independent Joe was able to beat Ned Lamont in the general election was because the Connecticut GOP did not, for all intents and purposes, field a candidate, meaning that Lieberman was able to win the bulk of Connecticut Republicans. In Pennsylvania, a number of serious Democrats are considering a run for Specter's seat, including Democratic Congressmen Patrick Murphy and Joe Sestak. Yes, a recent poll found that 49 percent of registered Dems in Pennsylvania favored Specter for another term, but you have to imagine those numbers will significantly drop once the Democrats choose a candidate. So I have a hard time seeing how Specter would win a general election campaign against Toomey and a serious Democratic pol. In other words, his best bet for keeping his seat could be sticking it out in the GOP.

--Jason Zengerle

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