Today's Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the same GOP Senate Majority Leader (Dominic Pileggi) who, along with GOP governor Corbett, floated the idea last fall of changing Pennsylvania from a winner-take-all Presidential electoral vote state to something different, is reintroducing a bill to do that. Last year's bill would have allocated PA's electoral votes by Congressional districts with the statewide popular vote winner getting an extra 2 electoral votes. This is what small states Maine and Nebraska do. This time, Pileggi has a different idea - PA would allocate its electoral votes proportionately - the winner of the popular vote would get 2 electoral votes and the remaining 18 would be divided based on the percentage of the popular vote each presidential candidate received. Under this scheme, in the 2012 election, instead of Obama receiving all 20 of PA's electoral votes, he would have received 12 votes and Romney would have received 8.
Pileggi's last scheme was not approved by the state legislature, and some Republicans opposed it along with almost all Democrats. It is not clear how much he and the state GOP (and Gov. Corbett - up for reelection in 2014) will push this idea. The GOP controls both houses of the legislature currently and will do so when the new legislature is sworn in next month.
Some possible effects of Pileggi's proposed change are as follows:
1. No future Pennsylvanian is likely to be nominated for President or Vice President of either national party.
Since its electoral votes will be split almost evenly in all future elections (even landslide elections), there is no electoral vote advantage to nominating a nominee from large electoral-rich state Pennsylvania.
2. His plan, if adopted, may seriously hurt Corbett's reelection chances.
Corbett is not particularly liked but is currently not particularly vilified by his opponents. For Corbett to agree to such a GOP partisan power-grab would be a huge motivating factor for Democrats, particularly urban Democrats, to come out to vote in 2014 against Corbett (and other Republicans on the ticket). There is usually a huge drop-off in voting in non-Presidential years.
Total PA popular vote:
2012 (Pres): 5,741,985
2010 (non-Pres): 3,987,551
2008 (Pres): 6,013,272
2006 (non-Pres): 4,096,077
2004 (Pres): 5,769,590
2002 (non-Pres): 3,583,179
This Pileggi GOP power-grab for PA's electoral votes would motivate many voters who normally come out only in Presidential election years to come out in November 2014 to vote against Corbett. [Perhaps Pileggi has another motive: make life tough for GOP Governor Corbett. Some in the GOP fault Corbett for his weak leadership and insufficient right-wing purity. Corbett may already have a GOP primary battle, and Pileggi, with this move, may have an agenda to help the anti-Corbett wing of the GOP in the 2014 GOP governor primary effort. Corbett signs the bill for the power grab and then Pileggi helps the anti-Corbett candidate win the GOP primary in 2014 since Corbett will be weakened in the polls. Who knows what schemes Pileggi may be plotting.]
3. This kills any chance Rick Santorum has to the 2016 GOP Presidential nomination.
Santorum makes the following argument to the GOP: "Nominate me. I won in PA, a large electoral vote swing state. That's 20 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the Prtesidency." This Pileggi move to change how PA allocates its 20 electoral votes destroys that Santorum argument in behalf of his candidacy.
web site for Phila Inquirer is www.philly.com