Specter Will Not Run as an Independent

You may have already noted our piece about Arlen Specter in this week's magazine, where we discuss Specter's precarious position as the man in the middle. Democrats are looking to him to provide the magical 60th vote in the Senate (assuming Franken is eventually seated), but he's up for re-election in 2010, and needs to burnish his conservative bona fides to beat out challenger Pat Toomey in the GOP primary. Specter only just grazed past Toomey in their 2004 primary match up. One option we didn't discuss in the magazine article, but that pundits are buzzing about, is the possibility of Specter running as an independent - doing a Joe Lieberman if you will. But in Pennsylvania a candidate can only run as an independent if they haven't already lost in a primary, thus ruling out the Lieberman's path. Specter would have to declare himself as an independent and bow out of GOP primary. Dan Stone and I asked Specter about that possibility when we sat down with him. His response was unequivocal:

Newsweek: Would you consider running as an independent.
Specter: No.
Newsweek: No? Definitely not?
Specter: I'm a Republican and I'm going to run in the Republican primary and on the Republican ticket.
Newsweek: We talked to Governor Rendell who said that the running joke is that you could easily become a Democrat and if you did, the framework in the state would make things very easy for you.
Specter: I'm not considering it. Rendell said he would help me raise money. He said that publicly a few weeks ago and I responded publicly that if I became a Democrat I wouldn't need to raise money.

 I guess that's that, but when are things ever that simple in politics?