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Arlen Specter Wins Union Backing


In the first big union endorsement of the 2010 Democratic primary:
Leaders of dozens of building-trades unions from the Philadelphia region yesterday backed Sen. Arlen Specter for reelection in the Democratic primary, saying he has long supported the goals of organized labor.

"There are some redeeming things about having a seasoned veteran in Washington," said Patrick Gillespie, president of the Philadelphia Building Trades Council. "He knows where the pitfalls are."

It was the first major labor endorsement in the May 18 Senate primary. Specter, 79, switched from the Republican to the Democratic Party last spring and is seeking a sixth term. He faces a challenge from U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak, who was not considered for the endorsement.

"Instead of using his seniority to stand up for our working families, Specter voted for tax cuts for the very wealthy" when he was a Republican, Sestak said in a statement. The incumbent also voted against children's health insurance and college tuition aid, Sestak said.

Union leaders cited Specter's crucial vote for the federal stimulus last year, and repeated support for increases in the minimum wage and to retain the Davis-Bacon Act, which requires federal construction projects to pay union rates.

"I will continue the fight," Specter said to cheers at a rally in the sprinkler-fitters' union hall in the Far Northeast.
I'm not going to sugar-coat it for Joe Sestak: he's got a very steep uphill battle ahead of him.

However, Senator Specter's incessant party-switching cannot be good for his re-election chances, no?