A Democratic Opponent For Specter?

Now that Sen. Arlen Specter is a Democrat, one big question is: who in the Democratic Party will step up to oppose him? According to Dan Hirschhorn, early signs point to Rep. Joe Sestak, a former admiral who came to Congress in the Democratic wave of 2006.

As Democrats across the country lauded Specter and popped figurative champagne (I've been unable to substantiate any literal champagne popping), Sestak criticized, accusing Specter of political opporunism (the very thing top Republicans intimated, referencing his abysmal poll numbers against GOP primary opponent Pat Toomey, who likely would have defeated Specter before November 2010). Party insiders say Sestak is the most likely opponent thus far, Hirschhorn reports.

It's also likely that national Democrats will pull for Specter, after yesterday's big-time power move gave them a 60-seat majority (pending the outcome of Norm Coleman's challenge in Minnesota). As Hirschhorn points out, Sestak is a centrist, and is not a darling of the party. Sestak did help Democrats take control of the House in 2006, however, and he adds to the House Democratic caucus's military cred with his past career in the Navy.

Some have wondered if Specter's stances will change now that he's a Democrat. He'll no longer worry about Toomey accusing him of being too liberal, and he may have to run to the left to win a Democratic primary. There's room to the left of Sestak if Specter wants to move there, but if this turns out to be the 2010 primary matchup, it looks as if two moderates will vie for the Democratic ticket.