A proposal to change how Pennsylvania awards its electoral college votes is pitting state government leaders in Harrisburg against fellow Republicans in Congress.
Though Pennsylvania’s a perennial swing state, it hasn’t been won by a Republican since 1988. But a proposal rolled out this week by the state Senate leader and quickly supported by Republican Gov. Tom Corbett would switch from the current winner-takes-all system to awarding most of Pennsylvania’s electoral college votes according to the winner of each congressional district, virtually assuring Republicans some of Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes.
With next year’s presidential election expected to be hard-fought, even sapping some electoral support from Barack Obama in Pennsylvania could have a major impact on the national results. But to several Republicans in marginal districts, the plan has a catch: they’re worried that Democrats will move dollars and ground troops from solid blue districts to battlegrounds in pursuit of electoral votes — and in the process, knock off the Republicans currently in the seats.
Suburban Philadelphia Reps. Jim Gerlach, Pat Meehan and Mike Fitzpatrick have the most at stake, since all represent districts Democrats won in the last two presidential elections. They and the rest of the Republicans in the delegation are joining with National Republican Congressional Committee officials to respond and mobilize against the change.
“Any proposed change to the election laws shouldn’t be done under the radar,” Fitzpatrick told POLITICO. “If every vote matters, everyone should have a chance to discuss this.” State GOP chairman Rob Gleason is also opposed to the plan.