Sen. Arlen Specter has arrived at the Democratic City Committee dinner in South Philadelphia, reports Dave Davies.
And while many VIPs come to this event and hang back until the speeches, the newly Democratic Specter immediately began working the room. Many people greeted him enthusiastically, welcoming him back to the party.
“I have a lot of friends here, I feel a lot of goodwill,” Specter said. Asked how the event differed from a GOP gathering, he quipped: “There are a lot more people here than when Republicans get together.”
Specter is set to speak shortly at the annual spring Democratic dinner at the Sheet Metal Worker's Hall.
Specter rocked the local political scene two weeks ago when he announced plans to switch to the Democratic party in advance of his 2010 re-election campaign. He made clear he was changing teams due to concern that he would not survive a Republican primary battle.
The transition so far has been bumpy. Specter has twice voted against the Democrats, opposing their budget and a plan that would allow judges to modify mortgages for imperiled homeowners. He also had to retract a statement that Minnesota courts should rule in favor of Republican Norm Coleman in the still undecided Minnesota Senate race.
It’s worth noting that Specter’s first local Democratic appearance was in a union hall. Specter recently drew wrath from organized labor for opposing the Employee Free Choice Act, which would make it easier for workers to organize. The act included a provision that would allow workers to form a union without an election if a majority sign cards in favor.