In Pennsylvania, an unholy alliance

By Tim Grieve
Published August 3, 2004 5:48PM (EDT)

In a what-goes-around, comes-around flip on the Republicans-helping-Nader phenomenon, Democratic volunteers in Pennsylvania have apparently been working to help a Constitution Party candidate qualify to run against Republican Sen. Arlen Specter.

According to the Associated Press, volunteers for Democratic Senate candidate Joe Hoeffel helped gather signatures to get Constitution Party chairman Jim Clymer on the November ballot against Specter, who survived a challenge from the right in the Republican primary.

Clymer's Constitution Party bills itself as the only political party that is "completely pro-life" and "anti-homosexual rights," "pro-American sovereignty" and "anti-globalist." And in a page straight out of Ralph Nader 2000, Clymer says there's "not a dime's worth of difference" between Hoeffel and Specter.

Hoeffel's spokeswoman told the AP that no paid campaign workers came to Clymer's aid. But Hoeffel, who trails Specter in fundraising and in a Quinnipiac University poll , made it clear last week in Boston that he wasn't exactly unhappy with the possibility that Clymer would make it on to the ballot.

"Specter really got wounded in his Republican primary," Hoeffel told us. "He spent all his money, his lead in the general election polling was cut in half, and the Republican Party is now divided to the extent that the Constitution Party is going to run a conservative candidate, Jim Clymer, who will get five or six percent of the vote. Most of that will come from Arlen Specter."

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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