Smerconish: Romney the Early Favorite in Crucial Philly ‘Burbs

Which Republican presidential candidate would fare best in the pivotal Philadelphia suburbs?

Philadelphia Inquirer columnist and nationally syndicated talker Michael Smerconish thinks it’s former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney – with one caveat.

“…Every Pennsylvania political observer I spoke with deemed Romney the early front-runner in the Philly ‘burbs, and I agree,” Smerconish writes in today’s Inky.  “That is, as long as it’s Romney the moderate former Massachusetts governor making the obligatory visits to the Italian Market, and not the more conservative ’08 also-ran who struggled to curry favor with the GOP base.”

Smerconish points out that recent Keystone State electoral history shows that the statewide candidate that wins Philadelphia’s four inner suburban counties – Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery – usually wins the state.  Why?  Because those counties are rich with independent-minded voters willing to cross party lines.

And those voters, Smerconish writes, won’t take kindly to frontrunner Michele Bachmann or Rick Perry.  “She may have fired up the folks in Ames, Iowa, but it’s hard to see her doing so in Ambler,” he says of the former.  (PoliticsPA co-owner Larry Ceisler’s take?  “The only Bachman that appeals to the Philly suburbs are the pretzels.”)

As for Perry: “Those sound bites that bring down the house with GOP loyalists – such as responding to a question about whether Obama loves America by insisting, ‘You need to ask him’ – would be ruinous in a general election here,” Smerconish insists.

Click here to read the whole column.

August 19th, 2011 | Posted in Front Page Stories, Presidential | No Comments