Corbett’s Non-Voter Suppression

    After leading Democrats began popping veins last week over Republican Tom Corbett’s in artful comments about Philadelphia turnout, I heard another story about his dark intentions to supress the Philadelphia vote. A Democrat told me Corbett was paying black field operatives in Philadelphia to sit the election out, and he said veteran political consultant Maurice Floyd was distributing the cash.

    I called Floyd, whom I’ve known for years, and asked him point-blank if it was true.

    He burst into laughter.

    “That’s ridiculous,” he said. He was working for Corbett, he told me, but said that before he agreed to help him, he got Corbett’s assurance that he would put money into trying to get Philadelphia votes.

    “He’s bought ads on black radio, we’ve done posters,” Floyd said. He promised I’d see Corbett field workers on the street election day in green shirts. Sure enough, standing in front of my polling place in the 59th ward was a guy in a green Corbett T-shirt, handing out sample ballots with the GOP candidate’s name.

    Did it work? Corbett got about 71,000 votes in Philadelphia, more than four thousand ahead of Republican Senate candidate Pat Toomey.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.