Speaker Smith Fires Farewell Shot at CAP

Speaker Smith

Speaker Smith

Speaker Sam Smith (R-Jefferson) sent a farewell shot across the bow at his conservative foe, Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania.

Smith announced his retirement last week, and CAP Executive Director Leo Knepper suggested to several news outlets that it was because he was about to face a competitive primary.

His 2012 opponent Cris Dush entered the Republican primary this year, and Smith narrowly beat him two years ago when there was another Republican in the race as well.

“Let me be very clear and set the record straight. ln 2012 l admittedly took my challenge less than seriously and barely ran a campaign. To be frank, I won without really trying,” Smith’s letter reads. “Unfortunately for your “organization” in the build up to this year’s election, I was committed to not making that mistake again.”

Knepper isn’t buying it.

“He’s saying that his retirement has absolutely nothing to do with any outside pressure that he’s receiving and then he goes on a three page missive attacking our organization? I don’t quite think that’s the whole story,” Knepper told PoliticsPA.

CAP has encouraged anti-establishment, conservative purists against incumbent Republicans before and regularly engages in marketing efforts to blast incumbents for votes with which they disagree.

Smith, on the other hand, had a reputation for being a more moderate, compromising Republican while he was the Speaker of the House.

“l’ll leave you with two pieces of advice not from me but from two fathers of modern conservatism. William Buckley once said, “idealism is fine, but as it approaches reality, its costs become prohibitive.” Barry Goldwater said “We don’t gain anything when you get rnad at a candidate because you don’t agree with his every philosophy.”’ Smith writes. “Perhaps you should think about those two and stop dividing the GOP and start going after the people who disagree with our agenda, the Democrats.”

Unsurprisingly, Knepper disagrees with this point as well.

“[He says] we should be going after Democrats rather than Republicans, and that’s an absurd argument,” Knepper argues. “When you look at the expansions of government that have taken place, they’ve been with Republicans leading the charge or aiding and abetting someone like Ed Rendell.”


February 19th, 2014 | Posted in Front Page Stories, Harrisburg, Top Stories | 13 Comments

13 thoughts on “Speaker Smith Fires Farewell Shot at CAP”

  1. Denny Bonavita says:

    I live in Smith’s district. He is correct in that he hardly campaigned at all in 2012, and still (barely) won. Smith knows EVERYBODY back here, and most of us like him personally. That usually trumps issues. I think, but do not know, that he would have won again.
    That said, it is past time to coalesce around new parties: Libertarians, Modern Whigs, you name it. “Oh, but they can’t win!” Ah, but with good candidates with solid reputations in their districts, yes they can. The problem isn’t GOP or Demo; the problem is incumbency.

  2. bobguzzardi says:


    Speaker Smith failed to mention his close call in 2012 primary. The two underfinanced challengers combined received about 120 votes more than Speaker Smith. This year there was only one challenger. It is obvious to anyone who will see what there is to be seen that the “poll that counts” told Speaker Smith he would lose and rather than end the 50 year Smith Dynasty with a humiliating defeat by a principled limited government low tax challenger, he blusters.

  3. bobguzzardi says:

    I live and have businesses in Pennsylvania. I was a founding contributer to John Kennedy and CAP and have continued to contribute. As far as I know, major contributions, if not most, come from Pennsylvania from people who are interested in ideas that solve problems in education as well as encourage economic growth and a higher standard of living.

  4. Robert B. Sklaroff, M.D. says:

    Regardless of the back-and-forth between Smith and CAP, the essential-conflict here is between the Establishment-GOP and the Constitutional-Conservatives.

    The key-‘graph is telling [and unrefuted], quoting Knepper: “[Smith says] we should be going after Democrats rather than Republicans, and that’s an absurd argument….When you look at the expansions of government that have taken place, they’ve been with Republicans leading the charge or aiding and abetting someone like Ed Rendell.”

    This event is also telling with regard to Guzzardi’s chronic-complaint about the GOP’s Assembly-leadership; it illustrates why frustrated Republicans are flocking to his gubernatorial candidacy.

  5. CentPADem says:

    I wonder when Knepper is going to denounce Darryl Metcalf for feasting like a pig at the Per Diem trough?

  6. PAINDY1 says:

    Did the TOM Corbett hit men get a RINO or just an independent thinker who won’t kowtow to the nonsense that Acting Govenor Brabender and Baby Brian Nutt are spewing forth? SPEAKER SMITH, you need to pass legislation that forbids political necrophilia in the Governor’s office. http://youtu.be/ulNTrGqY2yE

  7. Unsanctioned R says:

    Sounds like sour grapes.
    3 pages of it.

  8. Bono says:

    Way to go Sam! Too bad Rick Geist didn’t react this way and tell Leo and John Kennedy to play in their own sandbox and stay out of Altoona.

  9. mak says:

    Please proceed, Republicans.

  10. PAINDY1 says:

    Speaker Smith is another unfortunate victim of Tom Corbett’s political hit squads. Independent thinkers can’t be tolerated. Just ask Rep. Jimmy Christiana, who took on World Class Jeff Romoff and the Bakers. Somebody in the Harrisburg press corps should put on their big boy pants and examine the relationship between Speaker Smith and Tom Corbett and Baby Brian Nutt.

  11. Observer says:

    It would be really nice, and almost real Journalism, if the writer told us who actually FUNDS CAP and Knepper, and revealed that it is entirely funded from outside Pennsylvania. The opinions expressed by Knepper are not his own, but those of Billionaires from NY, KS, MN and elsewhere, but not PA (except Mellon Scaife, the wackjob). Do a little digging, PoliticsPA, and tell us the whole story.

  12. John says:

    CAP and those who support this anti-Republican self proclaimed “Think Tank” are only hurting their own agenda. They are just too engrossed with fighting moderates in the GOP that they have forgotten their own agenda. Anyone can see clearly that the Liberal Democrat Party will NEVER be conservative enough for CAP. CAP needs to focus on the real enemy here – the Democrat Party. Can you imagine what could accomplished if they actually worked with the GOP instead of against it! Shame on all those who support this group – including Scott Wagner who is now utilizing this group with his own contributions to help propel him to the Sate Senate.

  13. moderatemel says:

    Knepper’s opinion and those that support that philosophy are exactly why I am not longer a Republican. They are diving the party into obscurity.

Comments are closed.