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.