Friday, January 30, 2015

A State GOP Disagreement?

That plan to award PA electoral votes by congressional district isn't something all top GOPers like.

A State GOP Disagreement?

(A brief discussion twixt Baer & Baer's editor, a.k.a. BE)

JB: Yo, boss, interestingly, not every top Republican agrees with a GOP legislative plan discussed in my column and an Inky story to change how we award our electoral votes next year.

BE: Hard to believe since the rural GOP congressional districts would guarantee a watered-down Dem electoral vote no matter wide the margin of victory. Looks like a good way to muffle the trend of the state going D in the last five presidential elections.

JB: Sure does. By ending the state's winner-take-all system and awarding electoral votes by congressional districts, you'd keep the Democrat, in this case Obama, from snagging all 20 electoral votes. But I got a different take on the effort from veteran Republican State Committee chief Rob Gleason.

BE: What's he say?

JB: He says current polling suggests Republicans have a shot at grabbing all our electoral votes next year given Obama's PA numbers. A Quinnipiac Poll last month says a majority of state voters (52%) think Obama doesn't deserve re-election and shows Mitt beating him here 44-42.

BE: That can change, of course.

JB: True, but Gleason also notes cutting the 20-vote take (probably in half) means candidates won't campaign here, means PA won't be a battleground, means far less enthusiasm in the election and that could hurt other Republicans running down-ballot. As he says, "There'd be less of an effort in all counties."

BE: Sure, because so many voters only come out in presidential years, and if there's no real contest...

JB: Right. Gleason says Republicans need big turnouts to counter the 1.1 million Democratic registration edge. He says, "I've got to elect a U.S. Senator, an Auditor General and an Attorney General."

BE: Less of a race, less enthusiasm has to hurt fundraising too.

JB: And state broadcasters. No real race. No TV ad dollars. Or as Gleason says, "Can you imagine when the Pittsburgh and Philly TV stations hear about this? They'll crap themselves!"

BE: Campaigns feed a lot of faces. Heck, they even buy newspaper ads.

JB: So you've got GOP legislative leaders pushing the change. Gov. Corbett saying he'll support it. And the state chairman saying, "I"m not so sure it's a move in the right direction."

BE: A rare PA Republican political rift.

JB: Could lead to a grrrrreat debate.



John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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