News Release: Faculty Experts

Apr. 29,  2009

Specter Will Remain a Moderate Centrist

The defection of Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter from the GOP takes the Democrats one step closer to a 60-seat Senate majority, at least on paper, says Emory University political scientist and Congressional expert Randall Strahan.

"On balance, having another Democrat in the fold on the Senate side will help the administration, but Specter will remain a centrist and I do not expect him to be an automatic vote for the Democrats any more than he was for the Republicans,"says Strahan.

Sen. Specter's actions will likely make the rapidly approaching 2010 election cycle a rocky road for Republicans.

"If Republicans want to get back into the majority electorally in 2010 and beyond, they will need to expand their coalition because their base is getting too small," Strahan says.

Strahan, a professor of political science, is the author of "Leading Representatives: The Agency of Leaders in the Politics of the U.S. House," published in 2007 by Johns Hopkins University Press. He currently is working on a book about partisanship in Congress.

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