...the state's senior senator is at least temporarily last in Democratic seniority, blunting one of the chief arguments he planned to use in his quest for a record sixth term.
The arrangement threatens the influence that Mr. Specter had counted on wielding through his once-senior spots on powerful panels, including the judiciary and the appropriations committees.
"This raises a very real question for Democratic primary voters in Pennsylvania, and that is, 'What does he have to offer?'" said Mark Nevins, a spokesman for Joe Torsella, the first declared challenger for the Democratic seat. "He has no seniority; he has a 75 percent voting record with [former President] George Bush."
At last night's Democratic Party dinner at the Westin Convention Center hotel, Downtown, Jack Shea, president of the Allegheny County Labor Council, blistered Mr. Specter in a speech in which he predicted that the senator would suffer politically if he did not change his stance on the Employee Free Choice Act.
"Voters don't tend to focus on who's got what chairmanship," Mr. Sestak said, but he argued that a larger concern was whether Mr. Specter would prove to be a reliably Democratic voice in the longer term on issues such as health care and the economy.
The paper also says Pittsburgh City Controller Michael Lamb "said seniority issues wouldn't influence his consideration of the race."