There are new details in Pennsylvania on the proposal by Republican leaders to change the state’s allocation of electoral votes, to a House district-based system — showing a lobbying effort drawn from the top tiers of state Republican ranks.
A new report from the state news site Capitol Wire (paid subscription required) reveals that a group with the ironic name “All Votes Matter” has emerged, lobbying state legislators — and hiring former top state Senate staffers for the task.
According to the report, the group spent $77,700 on lobbying in the April-June quarter, and spent $186,882 on lobbying in the July-September quarter. The source of the funding is not legally required to be disclosed, and has not been disclosed.
The proposal, if passed into law, would enable the 2012 Republican nominee to potentially take a majority of the 20 electoral votes in the state, even if President Obama carried the state’s popular vote, thanks to GOP-led redistricting after the 2010 wave. Polling has shown Pennsylvania voters opposing the measure.
Had this proposed system been in place in 2008, when Obama won the state by a ten-point margin, he in fact would have only taken 11 out of the state’s 21 electoral votes at the time — due to a combination of past Republican-led redistricting efforts to maximize their district strength, and Obama’s votes being especially concentrated within urban areas.
Pennsylvania is classified as a swing state, and is regularly fought hard over. However, it has voted Democratic in every presidential election since 1992, and voted for Barack Obama by 55%-44% in 2008. Indeed, over the past 50 years it has only voted Republican in presidential landslides for the GOP: 1972, 1980, 1984, and finally 1988. The last time Pennsylvania voted Republican during a close national race was 1948, when it picked Tom Dewey over the victorious Harry Truman.
While the results have sometimes been narrow for the Dems, it is a state that can be expected to vote Democratic for president in the context of a close national campaign, such as its votes for Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004.
(Hat tip to Mother Jones.)