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Labor Issues Could Hinge on Topsy-Turvy Senate Race

February 25, 2004
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The outcome of labor issues over the next six years could hinge on an unusual primary election next month in Pennsylvania.

Sen. Arlen Specter, a Republican from Pennsylvania, is a reliable Republican vote on most issues, and Republicans such as Majority Leader Bill Frist, Mississippi Sen. Trent Lott and former Sen. Bob Dole have written that Specter is "one of the best senators in promoting Republican values and policies" according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Democrats on Capitol Hill who are interested in workforce issues tell Workforce Management that they’re pulling for Specter in a primary challenge next month, despite the conservative accolades from Frist and Lott. That’s because when it comes to critical labor and employment votes, Specter is a moderate "swing vote" who often votes in support of union positions and is hoping to win a fifth term in the U.S. Senate.

Few Republican senators are as popular with labor unions as Specter is, and few Republicans raise as much money from unions. Rep. Pat Toomey, Specter’s challenger, is getting fundraising and other support from well-known Republicans throughout America--former attorney general Ed Meese, former federal court judge Robert Bork and publisher Steve Forbes--in an attempt to defeat Specter, according to the Associated Press.

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