A one-two punch did Specter in, Rendell says


In the end, what did in U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter in Tuesday’s primary was a combination of anti-incumbent sentiment and pushback over Specter’s party switch, Gov. Rendell told reporters this afternoon.

Making matters worse, Rendell said, was that it appeared undecided voters ended up breaking overwhelmingly for U.S. Congressman Joe Sestak.

“There were a lot of people who didn’t like the fact that he switched parties,” the governor said. “But I don’t think that the Specter campaign did a good job explaining the reason. I think the reason he switched was because he wanted to keep working for the people of Pennsylvania … That’s why, and not because he wanted to save his own job.”

In Rendell’s mind, that is one of the great ironies behind Specter’s loss – because Specter, he said, didn’t treat people based on whether they were Democrat or Republican.

“This controversy over whether he’s a Republican or a Democrat is almost academic,” said Rendell, “because Arlen Specter has spent 30 years doing great things for the people of Pennsylvania, protecting us from bad things happening to Pennsylvania from Washington and having billions of dollars in resources to help solve some of the problems in Pennsylvania.”

“And he never asked whether you were a Republican or a Democrat,” Rendell continued. “When I was the Democratic mayor of Philadelphia and he was a Republican, every time I called and asked him for help in Philadelphia, he never said, ‘Oh, Philadelphia, I’ve never broken 30 percent of the vote there.’ He just rolled up his sleeves and went to work to help us.”

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