Pa. electoral vote split could mean drastic campaign changes

    A plan to split Pennsylvania’s electoral vote would mean presidential candidates next year will need to focus on winning individual congressional districts–not just the statewide popular vote.

    The proposal would allow the GOP presidential nominee to take some share of the state’s electoral votes, instead of the winner of the popular vote getting all of them.

    Political strategists are imagining how the plan will be a game-changer for their line of work.

    Democrats call the plan a power grab, a realpolitik way of making it more difficult for their party to carry the state’s electoral winner-take-all vote.

    Democratic strategist Larry Ceisler calls it a horrible idea. He envisions the national parties circling the wagons around the districts they can protect and abandoning those that aren’t sure wins.

    “All this money and resources that come into Pennsylvania because we’re a battleground state, it’s not gonna happen because there’s going to be really nothing to contest,” Ceisler said.

    Congressional and state Republicans are also urging caution because the change could put the party in the crosshairs of a national political push.

    Ray Zaborney, a GOP political consultant, says what voters might notice if the winner-take-all system were scrapped would be presidential campaigns that stop in smaller cities because that’s where the swing districts will be.

    “It’ll turn some of these congressional districts … make it look more like Iowa and New Hampshire, as opposed to just fighting over a broad swath of the state,” Zaborney said. “Remember, now when presidential candidates come in to campaign, they go to Philadelphia, they go to Pittsburgh.”

    The proposal comes from Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, a Chester County Republican.

    Gov. Tom Corbett has said he favors the plan.

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