For the first time since he switched political parties, Sen. Arlen Specter is being targeted in television advertisements by the progressive constituencies that could determine his primary election fate.
The pro-labor American Rights at Work released a new ad on Wednesday morning in which it lays out the case that Specter could breeze to the Democratic nomination in exchange for his vote on the Employee Free Choice Act.
"Specter usually does the right thing," the spot goes. "Two years ago he supported the Employee Free Choice Act, to help working people join together for fair pay and benefits. So now, where will Specter stand? With Obama, Biden, and the working families of Pennsylvania... Or with greedy CEOs, and Big Business lobbyists? Call and tell Specter Pennsylvania's for him.....As long as he's for the Employee Free Choice Act."
The ad reflects a growing effort on the part of Pennsylvania and national progressives to persuade the Republican-turned-Democrat to adopt more like-minded ideological positions. Some labor figures have gone so far as to dangle out the hopes of on-the-ground electoral help should Specter change his position on EFCA.
Union officials say, with sincerity, that at the end of the day they expect the Senator will support a compromise version of the Employee Free Choice Act despite having forcefully stated his opposition to the bill both as a member of the GOP and immediately upon switching parties. Ads like the one released by American Rights at Work are designed to grease the wheels.
The spot, a union official says, will run statewide on cable and broadcast television. It will be aired "at least" through the congressional recess at the end of May and "longer if need be."