When Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter switched parties and became a Democrat, he immediately got the support of his new party's leadership, including President Obama, for his upcoming re-election fight. But now another party leader has given Congressional liberals room to back the man challenging Specter in the Democratic primary next year, Rep. Joe Sestak.
Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., will be endorsing Sestak during an event in Philadelphia on Monday. It's an important get for Sestak; an endorsement from your average House liberal is nice, but Frank's nod means more.
Because he's one of the most influential men in the House, Frank can bring other members of Congress along with him. At the very least, he gives those among his colleagues who might otherwise worry about angering the White House and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid some cover.
"No one calls it like they see it quite like Barney Frank," Sestak said in a statement provided to Salon. "He's not willing to let Senator Specter get away with running from his record as a loyal Bush Republican. Just like Barney and I, Pennsylvanians won't be fooled by election year conversions."