Smith’s Democratic Primary Votes

Steve Welch has taken hits for voting for Barack Obama in 2008, but he isn’t the only GOP Senate candidate who has cast a ballot in a Democratic primary. Tom Smith voted in 19 Dem primaries since between the time he registered to vote in 1969, and the time he switched to the GOP in 2011.

When asked about these votes in the past – specifically the 2006 primary won by Sen. Bob Casey or the 2010 primary between Joe Sestak and Arlen Specter – Smith said he doesn’t recall who he voted for or even whether he voted in the top ballot races.

Given the results of the 2006 U.S. Senate primary in Smith’s home precinct of Plumcreek Township in Armstrong County, it’s not impossible that he didn’t vote in that race. Of the 259 ballots cast in either party, 142 Republicans and 90 Democrats voted in the U.S. Senate race. Of those Democrats, 84 voted for Bob Casey and 5 voted for one of his more liberal primary challengers. More than 10 percent of voters – 37 of 259 – didn’t vote in that race.

We pulled Smith’s voter card at the Armstrong County courthouse, and here are the elections where Smith voted in a Democratic primary:

2011, 2010, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2000, 1995, 1993, 1992, 1991, 1990, 1989, 1988, 1987, 1973, and 1972.

David Christian is a veterans advocate and businessman from Bucks County; Sam Rohrer is a former state Rep. from Berks County; Marc Scaringi is an attorney from Cumberland County; Smith is a former coal company owner from Armstrong County; and Welch, the candidate endorsed by GOP state committee, is an entrepreneur from Chester County.

March 31st, 2012 | Posted in Front Page Stories, Senate, Top Stories | 26 Comments

26 thoughts on “Smith’s Democratic Primary Votes”

  1. Mary says:

    I will be voting for Tom Smith. I haven’t talked to him in years, but I grew up half a mile from Tom, rode the school bus with him, and saw him in school every day. I know how he grew up and what his values are.
    I too was a registered Democrat for many years, out of respect for my Democratic parents, but that makes me no less a conservative in my thinking and voting, which is now as a Republican.
    I too missed out on voting in some elections. It happens.
    I wish he hadn’t said he didn’t remember who he voted for. I would have just said, “None of your business. That’s why we have secret ballots.” Maybe he was just trying to be more polite than I would have been, or maybe he just couldn’t remember who all was on each of those ballots. I certainly can’t remember everyone I ever voted for, can you?
    At any rate, I plan to vote for the local boy whose background I know, a real country boy who pulled himself up by the boot straps and made something of himself, and who wants the same for the rest of America. He wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth, like some others we see wanting to tell the rest of us how we should live and think.
    Tom could not possibly have grown up in this township and this county and be a liberal. We just don’t grow them here. But if there happen to be some, they must have moved here from somewhere else, or drunk the KoolAid being poured down their throats.
    Does Tom have some faults? Probably. Don’t we all? Does he want the America we grew up in back? You betcha.

  2. Brendan in Delco says:

    Smith and Welch have been Victocrats during Obama’s current term. Welch actually voted for him. Don’t trust them. Can’t have another Spector bankrupting us. Will likely go with Scaringi, but open to any of the 3 Republican candidates.

  3. David says:

    Persons that criticize Sam for voting for the pay raise should also mention that he did not take it for himself.

  4. Julian R. says:

    Well said Judy Brown!

  5. Judy Brown says:

    Let’s not forget that Tom Smith donated the maximum to democrat Jason Altmire but nothing to his Republican challenger Kieth Rothfus. Tom Smith has also admitted that he really is a blue dog democrat. He also has said he is willing to ‘buy’ the Senate seat with his millions.
    Ronald Reagan changed to Republican long before he ran. In October 1964 he gave his famous speech “A time for choosing” for Barry Goldwater.
    State Committee is filled with RINO’s who lack principles and will do whatever the leadership tells them to do.
    Is there really any difference between the parties?

  6. John says:

    @Unlinked John (not to be confused with me)

    Subjective views are just that. Tom Smith liberal? Give me a break.

    Cling on to that “R” security blanket. Think R- Tom Ridge who gave us the 2001 Pension increase which is bankrupting our state. One that the teachers union never asked for either.

    I guess when the impact of the votes came in, the idea for property tax relief became real popular among some…as a way to divert the impact of their 2001,2002 and 2003 vote errors. Yes it was three votes, not one where the “mistake” was made. The least they could have done is to pay for the error then rather than kick it down the road and leave it for the next generation to pay for…while they collect their pensions.

    Check the voting records of our candidates for us senate. Hat tip: I can tell you, it was not Tom Smith who voted for this. If these three pension votes can be described as fiscally conservative, someone has a heck of a kool-aid stand going.

  7. Julie says:

    Trust me, Tom Smith is not a liberal at heart. Tom is not liberal in any way except when it comes to giving his time and money to conservatives. I thought the Tea Party was open to all parties, not just the Republican party. Tom is one of the founders of the Indiana Armstrong Patriots and without his leadership and support they would not exist. Tom could spend his days relaxing and enjoying his grand children on his farm, but he wants to VOTE in the Senate so that he can help balance the budget and get this nation that he loves out of debt. Why do we batter the people who truly want to do good things? It’s no wonder we have trouble finding GOOD men to run for office!

  8. Rick says:

    Tom Smith is the best man to beat Bob Casey in November! I don’t care how these guys voted in elections. I am more concerned about how they will vote if elected! Sam Rohrer cannot beat Bob Casey because of his votes for pay raises and pension increases. The Dems will pound him on those votes. Tom Smith has put his money where his mouth is and given hundreds of thousands of dollars to conservative groups and politicians. I know Tom Smith and he is a true conservative.

  9. John says:

    I do not believe a true conservative could remain in the democratic party until 2011 unless he was either stupid (which Smith is not) or a liberal at heart. This is the party which has promoted abortion and socialism for years. A conservative would not have had the stomach to have a D next to his name and retain his integrity.

  10. Fool me once (Welch) shame on me, fool me twice (Smith) shame on you. I’m still up in the air between Sam Rhorer and Mark Scaringi. Neither of the Democrats will see my vote, that is the only thing I have left that hasn’t been taxed, stolen (still questionable), or buried. I don;t give a hoot who the Republicans endorsed, they are all corrupt. Throw them all out, and start with Corbett.

  11. RePublius says:

    @Jen – the article clearly states that he voted in 19 PRIMARIES since 1969. Surely he voted in general elections at least this many times, and it seems clear from his monetary support that he voted for Republicans in those elections.

  12. John says:

    Alex, I am not sure that the pay raise had that much of an impact on the state economically. The situation behind the pay raise, as Sam explains them are a concern.

    The votes that made the largest difference to the Commonwealth were Act 9 of 2001, Act 38 and Act 40.

    The Republican Candidates have not made an issue of this in the primary, however, the democrats will if Sam wins.

    Up until now Sam has been in the lead because of his name recognition from running for Governor and his years of public service. Name recognition is a very big deal, especially in a primary race as voters really do not pay as close to this as many think.

    Now Tom’s message is getting out, he has attracted voters who see what he stands for.

    The bottom line, which is hard to tell from many of the boards is there are four conservative candidates, all four of which have tea party support. There are differences on foreign policy among the four. All four share the basic premises of the tea party and freedom loving groups. All four are good men.

    This is where the decision boils down to who can win in November with all their attributes considered and who has the best chance of winning over the 22% of Republicans who support Bob Casey.

    Here is my take, of the undecided vote, logic would state a) that the one with the most current name recognition has not been able to seal the deal. Very large percentage of those who have not made a decision b) who received the second most votes from State Committee? This is very important as a mark of people most likely to support in the primary and general election. The endorsement vote itself , under the conditions they were, does not seem to have yielded anything more than a statement for TC.

    I have “worked with” three of the four campaigns listed above, Mr. Christian was embroiled in his court case, so have never met him and only dealt by email with his campaign.

    I made my decision based on all the factors mentioned above.

  13. Alex says:

    Let’s not forget the BIG vote in this race: Sam Rohrer’s vote to give himself a big paise and pension increase…in exchange for a deal. Yes, old “payraise Sam” sold his vote!

  14. the Rocks says:

    There is something slightly more credible about Smith’s party switch than Welch’s, the timing of the latter’s switches looks suspiciously opportunistic. And Sestak’s comments about Welch are damning… “He expressed support of me and what I stood for. He seemed nice and, separately, supportive of the Democratic Party and its efforts.” What?!

  15. Howard says:

    I think the best way to navigate through Smith and Welsh’s voting records is to vote for the only guy in the race with a Conservative record and that is Sam Rohrer. He will do everything that Welsh & Smith “say” they will do and has the recording in the PA legislature to back it up.

  16. Isaac L. says:

    Seriously? You think this article is bunk? The endorsed Republican candidate is getting attacked for voting in one Democratic primary in 2008; Mr. Smith voted in 19 and as recently as 2010. That seems pretty relevant even if it isn’t necessarily a definitive judgement on his conservative credentials, but it does give important context to a major and frequently repeated attack on one candidate. This article could not possibly be more of a statement of fact – I don’t see anything in this entire article that you could even remotely construe as editorializing. The way this article is written is about as biased as a weather report. And I’m not even voting in the Republican primary.

  17. Jen says:

    What I get from the story more than anything is that from 1969 times he has only voted 19 times. To me someone who talks about making things better should have a history of voting each year to make a difference. He has the right to vote but does not bother and it doesn’t mean enough to say, yes i voted in 2010, it was my duty to try to vote for who I thought was the best person for the job.

  18. Tom Porter says:

    Tom Smith was a John Kennedy Democrat for many years. If JFK was in office today he would be considered a conservative. Grow up people! A conservative is a conservative no matter what the party label. I know Tom Smith and he is a true conservative and patriot. This story is pure bunk…Like the editor had to come up with something to fill a slot and this was the best he could do.

  19. alan says:

    Did not Smith contribute to Roher for Governor?
    Is this buy an article time? Did Welch bump up his advertising or consulting with your owners?

  20. I suspect BrabenderCoxBrianNutt are going negative because they are desperate. Tom Smith has contributed more money to more conservative candidates than all the other candidates combines.

    How one spends one’s money tells us more than party registration. Anyone who has met Tom Smith knows he is the real deal.

  21. Ronald Reagan was once a democrat, people can change their outlook on the role of government. Obama has many democrats shaking their heads.

    I’m not voting for Smith because he didn’t give a good answer to my NDAA question.

    BTW Toomey voted in favor of that horrible piece of legislation (as did Casey).

  22. Jason Jones says:

    “We pulled Smith’s voter card” Seriously? It is a shame in politics when someone has an ideological change and moves to the other side and the party says you are not really welcome.

  23. John says:

    People are not easily fooled by the trolls working for campaigns who comment in secret or unlinked comments

  24. So, here is a guy who doesn’t know who he voted for in the Primary, whether or not he voted for the top Primary ballot spots, i.e., Senate, President, etc., and now he is a reformed DEMOCRAT, recently turned Republican in August of 2011, and wants to run for the U.S. Senate seat. Something about this entire situation doesn’t pass the SMELL test. Have we not had enough of PARTY JUMPERS in the state of Pennsylvania? This man reeks of money, which he looks like he enjoys spending with reckless abandon – money that he received for selling off his coal business, which by the way, the President is doing his best to get rid of – interesting timing, the selling of the coal business – made millions, and this somehow entitles him to be the best candidate for U.S. Senate. Kind of not seeing it this way. How sad is the day when not 1 but 2 DEMOCRATS are running for the U. S. Senate on the Republican ticket, and 1 of them being endorsed by State Committee.

    It all boils down to the money. Money is all the PA Republican Leadership care about. Politics isn’t about the Republicans vs. the Democrats anymore. It’s about the wealthy/elite who think they are smarter than everyone else and don’t have to follow any rules, because they can pay enough to get out of the situations they find themselves in versus the normal everyday working citizen, and they exist in both the Republican and Democrat parties.

    In other words, they are both fighting the little guy. One party schmoozes the little guy, and the other party stomps on the little guy, stating we are too stupid to make decisions, but make no mistake, these two factions are one in the same.

    Welch and Smith are exactly the people who should not get voted for.

  25. Deborah says:

    Honestly, how can the people of Pennsylvania be so easily fooled? Another Democrat attempting to infiltrate the Republican party and act as another Arlen Specter. Is that what we want? No!

  26. Really? says:

    Is the irony lost on everyone that he is begging for votes in a Republican Primary when it is something he never had the balls to vote in himself?

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