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Less Hawkish Tone from Gleason, Priebus about Electoral College Changes

By Sari Heidenreich and Keegan Gibson

Priebus talks with members of the press in the Harrisburg Hilton.

Republican infighting over proposed changes to the way Pennsylvania allots its Electoral College votes was one of the main story lines heading into GOP state committee this weekend. But the chairmen of the PA and national parties each backed off criticism of the plan.

Pennsylvania Party Chairman Rob Gleason said Friday he is having ongoing discussions regarding his position on State Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi’s proposal.

“It’s not just about me and it’s not just a single person,” Gleason said, speaking to a group of reporters at Republican State Committee in Harrisburg. “This affects everybody who … votes in Pennsylvania so we don’t want to rush to judgment.”

On Wednesday, Gleason was more aggressive in his criticism of Pileggi’s plan in comments to Politico.

“We would no longer be a battleground state with all the benefits that come with that,” he said then. “It would affect us all the way down ticket. We’re gonna win the presidency here anyway, so why we would do this now when we’re at the top of the heap is beyond me.”

Gleason said his comments today do no mean is backing off of his criticism of the plan but is rather having conversations with the Legislature.

The Legislature, “have a process to follow and I am going to work with them to work through the process. And for me to just say, ‘this is going to happen’ or ‘that is going to happen,’ it’s not true. So that’s kind of where I am.”

After a meeting with Republican leadership at this weekend’s Pennsylvania State Committee meeting he said would never say any plan was a stupid idea.

“I’m never going to say absolutely not … I need also to be guided by my state committee. So I’m starting to reach out to those people and see how they feel about it.”

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus ran into the same issue as he spoke with members of the press between his VIP reception and the dinner.

Capitolwire’s Pete DeCoursey has reported on conversations between Priebus and several members of the state party and congressional delegation on the subject. DeCoursey and the Inquirer’s Thomas Fitzgerald challenged the Chairman when he asserted today that he has not taken a stance on the issue.

Priebus insisted that it was a state issue and that he was remaining neutral.

“I can tell you that Republicans are going to win 20 electoral votes in Pennsylvania, no matter what happens,” Priebus said.

September 16th, 2011 | Posted in Front Page Stories, Harrisburg, Presidential, Redistricting Watch | No Comments