The murmurs of a Republican-led plan to change the allocation of Pennsylvania's votes in the electoral college originally marked the move as one that could hurt President Barack Obama's chance at reelection. However, the strategy could be a risky one for many Republicans in the Keystone State.
A change in the electoral college would mean a change in campaigning for Democrats wanting to maximize the votes they receive under the new system. Instead of focusing on Philadelphia, Democrats would likely campaign heavily in the suburban areas that typically lean Republican, putting the incumbent Republican representatives of those districts in danger.
Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA) told the Allentown Morning Call that he wasn't sure about the impact of the proposed changes on non-presidential races like his own.
"I'm probably a little reluctant to be supportive of it … on political grounds," he said.
Former Gov. Ed Rendell (D) told online news service Capitolwire that the state at large could also suffer from lack of federal attention and federal aid if it changes systems.
"People are very reluctant to short Pennsylvania in Washington because they know we are one of the states that can swing and change a presidential election," Rendell said. "We lose a lot of power and aid in Washington if we do this by ourselves."
Eric Arneson, a spokesman for State Senate Majority Leader Domoinic Pileggi (R) told Talking Points Memo that the bill will move forward this week.
“You know, this is an idea that Senator Pileggi believes is a fair way to move forward,” said Arneson. “But yes, we have heard concerns raised from both sides of the aisle.”
Creative Commons image via flickr user ryochiji