Specter party switch leaves Brownback ‘stunned’

Few people probably thought Tuesday would entail huge developments involving two politicians with Kansas ties.

Most people expect the Senate in the afternoon to confirm Gov. Kathleen Sebelius as the new secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, but the major story of the day in Washington has become the announcement that Pennsylvania moderate Sen. Arlen Specter would switch parties to align with the Democrats.

Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., told CNN the announcement stunned him. He said he had no idea it was coming.

“Arlen’s his own man, but it’s not good,” Brownback told CNN.

Specter was born in Wichita, and he grew up in Russell, also the hometown of former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, who served in the Senate from 1969 to 1996.