PHILADELPHIA — As Sen. Arlen Specter (D., Pa.) stepped out of his maroon sedan here in the West Oak Lane section, he nimbly avoided the puddles. Then, as if on cue, a nearby church chimed “Amazing Grace” as he shook hands outside the Simon Recreation Center.
Unfortunately for Specter, the rain continues to soak Philly and the three polling stations he visited have mostly been empty. However, the senior senator seems to be doing well with the voters who have turned out in these neighborhoods: older African-Americans. “I voted for him when he was a Democrat before,” one grandmother tells me. “He was a great district attorney in the Sixties.”
“He’s been a vocal supporter of African Americans and union members,” adds James White, 68, a retired public employee. “I support him because of that. His [GOP ties] don’t really bother me.” Other African-American retirees walking in the polling station said the same. “Sestak’s nice, but I don’t know him,” was the, albeit anecdotal, consensus.
The normally talkative Specter has become relatively mum in recent hours, ducking many reporters’ questions at his polling station visits. I asked him twice whether the White House has called him to offer good luck wishes and got no response. All he told me was this: “We need turnout. If we get that, we’ll do well. I feel fine. I’d like a little less rain, but I’ll play with the cards we’re dealt.”
Meanwhile, a senior Sestak aide tells NRO that the race is still “way too close to call.” It’s still early, he says, and with little turnout, outcomes are “hard to predict.” Both campaigns, he believes, are focusing on the turnout in Philadelphia.