PHILADELPHIA — Sen. Arlen Specter (D., Pa.) voted this morning in the City of Brotherly Love, surrounded by a mob of national political reporters. Early turnout here in the ritzy Main Line community was light, thanks, in part, to a consistent drizzle. With his primary opponent, Rep. Joe Sestak (D., Pa.), surging in recent polls, Specter, joined by his wife, looked a bit glum, though he managed to smile once the klieg lights flashed.
“The anti-incumbent mood is at play,” said Specter, speaking with reporters. “The public is fed up with the gridlock in Washington. But I’ve fought that gridlock for my entire tenure in the Senate. I’ve been willing to cross party lines.”
Turning to Keystone State politics, Specter recalled that at one time his path to reelection was “clean cut” if he voted against the stimulus. Instead, he voted for it, and says he has “no regrets.”
Specter reasserted his commitment to “absolutely” endorse Sestak if he’s defeated tonight, even though he complained that Sestak’s ads have taken him “out of context.”
“Being a good team player” is important, Specter said. Sestak’s refusal to commit to endorsing Specter, should he lose, “could cost him the election.” (On CNN Sunday, Sestak said he wasn’t sure whether he’d back a Specter candidacy after today.)
Specter, in his trademark Kansas drawl, also brushed off concerns about President Obama not stumping for him in the final days. “If you live on planet Earth he was in your living room,” he mused. “He did everything I asked him to do. You guys and gals ought to get big raises, since I spent a lot of money putting him on television.”
Gov. Ed Rendell (D., Pa.), a Specter ally, tells NRO that the rain could definitely be a factor in Philly, where Specter needs high turnout and support. “It’ll be a sad day for Pennsylvania if he loses,” he says. “I hope the weather clears up.”