Update: Murphy, Thompson Skeptical of GOP Electoral Plan

Update: PoliticsPA spoke to Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Allegheny), who also had concerns about the plan.

By Ali Carey and Keegan Gibson

Add two more names to the list of congressmen likely to challenge Tom Corbett over the controversial plan to split Pennsylvania’s Electoral College votes. The Governor has a visit scheduled with the delegation Tuesday afternoon in Washington, DC.

Republican Congressman Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-Centre) isn’t sold on the newly proposed GOP electoral plan for PA.  He admits he’s still looking it over, but he’s sympathetic to the concerns of his swing district colleagues that it would threaten incumbents in the state.

“This is not a time like in the past that the Republican party should be greedy in terms of trying to overreach,” he said at Saturday’s meeting of Republican State Committee in Harrisburg. “That usually doesn’t work.  No matter matter what party overreaches, it usually comes back to haunt you.”

There are currently twelve Republican congressmen from Pennsylvania, and Thompson would like to see it stay that way after the 2012 election.

“I do think that for districts who have a tighter margin that this could make some of our Republican incumbents more vulnerable.  When you look at the deployment of resources by the parties, with the changes that are being talked about this would zero in on I think on districts that you call swing districts or whatever that title would be,” said Thompson.

“There’s probably about 4 or 5 Republican districts that Democrats would want to deploy a whole lot more resources there and less everywhere else,” Thompson said.

Rep. Marino, who also attended Friday’s state committee dinner as well as Saturday’s meeting, said he hadn’t had the chance to examine the issue in sufficient detail to comment given recent flooding in his district.

“I heard about this only within the past 48 hours,” Marino said. “I haven’t had the chance to study the proposal.”


Murphy said he was concerned that the plan would yield congressional races based more on national issues than community ones.

“It’s changing the dynamics of local representation such that, up to this point, a member of Congress runs in their communities that they serve. If it appears that the White House can get another electoral vote in a close election, then the RNC and the DNC move into town and weigh in heavily. Then it ceases to be a congressional race and becomes more of a race for President.”

He cited the case of his friend and colleague Rep. Lee Terry, whose own re-election was jeopardized by that state’s electoral vote-splitting. Murphy also warned of the possible impact on local races.

“I think the state needs to understand also that goes down below there and impacts state Senate and state House races that otherwise represent an area of fifty or sixty thousand people and find themselves now in the midst of a presidential race that otherwise shouldn’t have any play at all in their state house races but it will.”


According to Thompson the “rumors and the rumblings” are that Harrisburg lawmakers will decide on the congressional redistricting first.  Based on Friday reports, he said PA may see a plan as early as October, which would be a speed record for the state.

Since roughly 60% of registered voters in PA’s 5th district are Republican, Thompson is less concerned with his district and more concerned about his fellow Republicans in bluer parts of the state. He said he would support a map that moves Republicans from the eastern parts of his district into those of Reps. Tom Marino and Lou Barletta, where current math is tougher for the GOP.

“My district is currently at R + 9.  I think quite frankly that’s going to go down a bit, but for the benefit of the team I’m okay with that.”

7 Responses

  1. In 1800, Thomas Jefferson argued that Virginia should switch from its then-existing district system of electing presidential electors to the statewide winner-take-all system because of the political disadvantage suffered by states that divided their electoral votes by districts in a political environment in which other states used the winner-take-all approach:
    “while 10. states chuse either by their legislatures or by a general ticket [winner-take-all], it is folly & worse than folly for the other 6. not to do it.” [Spelling and punctuation as per original]

    Indeed, the now-prevailing statewide winner-take-all system became entrenched in the political landscape in the 1830s precisely because dividing a state’s electoral votes diminishes the state’s political influence relative to states employing the statewide winner-take-all approach.

  2. In response to Messrs. Diano and Bergen, shifting residents from one U.S. House District to another, as constitutionally required for the apportionment of representatives based on the Census, is not necessarily “gerrymandering.” Gerrymandering, a portmanteau of Founding Father “Elbridge Gerry” and “salamander” refers to districts that are oddly shaped for partisan purposes (e.g. districts that link unrelated areas by thin corridors,) not to all redrawing of Districts, which are always done for political reasons. With Pennsylvania’s loss of a House District, every existing District must shrink, no matter what party draws the lines for whatever consideration.

  3. “Dividing Pennsylvania’s electoral votes by congressional district would magnify the worst features of the Electoral College system and not reflect the diversity of Pennsylvania.”

    Thomas Jefferson once said: Never let the majority vote against the minority. The founders, bless their hearts, took the power to elect a President away from the Congress, and placed it in the Electoral college and in the Congressional district. Its more in line with the ‘one man one vote’ to do this and also allow the majority in that District to also have one vote for the next President. I favor the Governor’s Proposal to do this.

  4. Republican legislators seem quite “confused” about the merits of the congressional district method The leadership committee of the Nebraska Republican Party just adopted a resolution requiring all GOP elected officials to favor overturning their congressional district method for awarding electoral votes or lose the party’s support. While in Pennsylvania, Republican legislators are just as strongly arguing that they must change from the winner-take-all method to the congressional district method.

    Dividing Pennsylvania’s electoral votes by congressional district would magnify the worst features of the Electoral College system and not reflect the diversity of Pennsylvania.

    The district approach would provide less incentive for presidential candidates to campaign in all Pennsylvania districts and would not focus the candidates’ attention to issues of concern to the state as a whole. Candidates would have no reason to campaign in districts where they are comfortably ahead or hopelessly behind.

    Due to gerrymandering, in 2008, only 4 Pennsylvania congressional districts were competitive.

    In Maine, where they award electoral votes by congressional district, the closely divided 2nd congressional district received campaign events in 2008 (whereas Maine’s 1st reliably Democratic district was ignored).

    In Nebraska, which also uses the district method, the 2008 presidential campaigns did not pay the slightest attention to the people of Nebraska’s reliably Republican 1st and 3rd congressional districts because it was a foregone conclusion that McCain would win the most popular votes in both of those districts. The issues relevant to voters of the 2nd district (the Omaha area) mattered, while the (very different) issues relevant to the remaining (mostly rural) 2/3rds of the state were irrelevant.

    When votes matter, presidential candidates vigorously solicit those voters. When votes don’t matter, they ignore those areas.

    Nationwide, there are only 55 “battleground” districts that are competitive in presidential elections. 88% of the nation’s congressional districts would be ignored if a district-level winner-take-all system were used nationally.

    If the district approach were used nationally, it would be less fair and less accurately reflect the will of the people than the current system. In 2004, Bush won 50.7% of the popular vote, but 59% of the districts. Although Bush lost the national popular vote in 2000, he won 55% of the country’s congressional districts.

    Awarding electoral votes by congressional district could result in third party candidates winning electoral votes that would deny either major party candidate the necessary majority vote of electors and throw the process into Congress to decide.

    Because there are generally more close votes on district levels than states as whole, district elections increase the opportunity for error. The larger the voting base, the less opportunity there is for an especially close vote.

    Also, a second-place candidate could still win the White House without winning the national popular vote.

    A national popular vote is the way to make every person’s vote equal and guarantee that the candidate who gets the most votes in all 50 states becomes President.

  5. A survey of 800 Pennsylvania voters conducted on December 16-17, 2008 showed 78% overall support for a national popular vote for President.
    Support was 87% among Democrats, 68% among Republicans, and 76% among independents.
    By age, support was 77% among 18-29 year olds, 73% among 30-45 year olds, 81% among 46-65 year olds, and 78% for those older than 65.
    By gender, support was 85% among women and 71% among men.The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    Under National Popular Vote, every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in every presidential election. Every vote would be included in the national count. The candidate with the most popular votes in all 50 states would get the 270+ electoral votes from the enacting states. That majority of electoral votes guarantees the candidate with the most popular votes in all 50 states wins the presidency.

    National Popular Vote would give a voice to the minority party voters in each state and district (in ME and NE). Now their votes are counted only for the candidate they did not vote for. Now they don’t matter to their candidate.

    With National Popular Vote, elections wouldn’t be about winning states or districts (in ME and NE). No more distorting and divisive red and blue state and district maps. Every vote, everywhere would be counted for and directly assist the candidate for whom it was cast.

    In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). Support is strong among Republican voters, Democratic voters, and independent voters, as well as every demographic group surveyed in virtually every state surveyed in recent polls in closely divided battleground states: CO – 68%, FL – 78%, IA 75%, MI – 73%, MO – 70%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM– 76%, NC – 74%, OH – 70%, PA – 78%, VA – 74%, and WI – 71%; in smaller states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK – 70%, DC – 76%, DE – 75%, ID – 77%, ME – 77%, MT – 72%, NE 74%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM – 76%, OK – 81%, RI – 74%, SD – 71%, UT – 70%, VT – 75%, WV – 81%, and WY – 69%; in Southern and border states: AR – 80%,, KY- 80%, MS – 77%, MO – 70%, NC – 74%, OK – 81%, SC – 71%, TN – 83%, VA – 74%, and WV – 81%; and in other states polled: CA – 70%, CT – 74%, MA – 73%, MN – 75%, NY – 79%, OR – 76%, and WA – 77%. Americans believe that the candidate who receives the most votes should get elected.

    The bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers, in 21 small, medium-small, medium, and large states, including one house in AR, CT, DE, DC, ME, MI, NV, NM, NY, NC, and OR, and both houses in CA, CO, HI, IL, NJ, MD, MA, RI, VT, and WA. The bill has been enacted by DC (3), HI (4), IL (19), NJ (14), MD (11), MA (10), CA (55), VT (3), and WA (13). These 9 jurisdictions possess 132 electoral votes — 49% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.


  6. When I started reading this I was like, okay finally a GOP voice that sounds reasonable…Then it’s more lets cheat politics…Gerrymandering is not a good plan for either party, even thought the Republican seem more desperate for it as of late. All you have to do is look at Texas to see how the right is desperate at this any seat possible. You want to improve your seats, how bout you try to reach the voters instead of fixing the maps…The Republicans know they can’t do that, so fixing the map is their only hope.

  7. So, Thompson is OKAY with gerrymandering Republican voters to help Marino and Barletta? That kind of greedy overreach not only doesn’t bother him, but he’s supporting it. What a piece of “work” (feel free to substitute a different 4-letter word).

Comments are closed.

  • Best Cheesesteak in Philly

    • They Ain't Listed Here (33%)
    • Dalessandro’s Steaks and Hoagies (29%)
    • Pat's King of Steaks (9%)
    • John's Roast Pork (9%)
    • Steve's Prince of Steaks (9%)
    • Tony Luke's (6%)
    • Geno's Steaks (4%)

    Total Voters: 232

    Loading ... Loading ...
Continue to Browser


To install tap and choose
Add to Home Screen