Casey opposes plan to change method of awarding Pa. electoral votes

    U.S. Sen. Bob Casey is objecting to a plan that would change the way Pennsylvania awards its electoral votes.

    In a letter to the state Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, Casey says he hopes the proposal is debated with “complete transparency” and public hearings.

    But the measure to award most of the commonwealth’s electoral votes based on each presidential candidate’s proportional share of the statewide popular vote is parked in a Senate committee.

    State Sen. Lloyd Smucker, R-Lancaster County, who chairs the panel, says the bill isn’t likely to surface soon.

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    “We don’t have any specific plans to bring it up for a vote in the immediate future,” he said. “We have a number of bills in the committee, dozens of bills in the committee, and that’s not one that’s on the priority list.”

    A spokeswoman for Casey says the lawmaker believes it’s an important issue worth getting on the record.

    One political scientist, however, suggests the letter is an example of the senator’s recent efforts to raise his profile since winning re-election last fall.

    And Larry Ceisler, a Democratic political analyst based in Philadelphia, says Casey might be trying to keep the issue from flying under the radar so it’s harder for the Legislature to advance it quietly.

    “He might be trying to raise the profile of the issue, keep it in public play, so it doesn’t happen,” Ceisler said.

    Ceisler says Casey’s recent re-election means he’s not running for anything at the moment, so he’s not vulnerable to claims that he’s grandstanding with an issue that’s pure red meat to the Democratic Party faithful.

    Billy Pittman, spokesman for the state Republican Party, says the GOP just isn’t focused on the proposed plan to change the way electoral votes are allocated.

    “Right now, it’s not a priority,” Pittman said. “We definitely think Sen. Casey and the Democrats are … really just harping this issue up because they have nothing better to talk about at the moment.”

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