Corbett says he has an open mind on apportioning electoral votes

Posted: September 18, 2011

HARRISBURG - Gov. Corbett said Saturday that he would keep an open mind about arguments against the proposal he backs to end Pennsylvania's system of allocating all of its electoral votes to the winner of the statewide popular vote in presidential races.

"You know me, I always listen," Corbett told reporters outside the quarterly meeting of the Republican State Committee here. But he is known as consistent, or stubborn, depending on your point of view, in his positions. A reporter asked him if he had ever changed his mind on anything. "There are a lot of times," Corbett said. "I just don't tell you when I change my mind."

Corbett said he was sympathetic to the concerns of Republican members of Congress who represent Democratic-trending districts in Southeastern Pennsylvania that were carried handily by President Obama in 2008. He is scheduled to meet with the delegation Tuesday during a previously scheduled trip to Washington.

Under the proposal, championed by Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R., Delaware), Pennsylvania's 20 electoral votes would be awarded on the basis of the popular vote in each of the 18 congressional districts, with two electoral votes awarded to the winner of the statewide popular vote.

Unlike recent elections, in which Democrats won all the state's electoral votes, the plan would potentially benefit the GOP's presidential candidates in 2012 and beyond, giving them at least some of the state's electoral votes. Democrats characterize it as vote rigging, and many Republicans worry about unintended consequences, such as endangering the party's representatives in moderate districts.

"I believe Sen. Pileggi's bill has strong merit; it is more representative of Pennsylvania than the present system, but I'm keeping an open mind," Corbett said.

He also said that he did not believe predictions of doom, common here at the state committee meeting, that national GOP party-building money would dry up if Pennsylvania were no longer such a large electoral prize.

"Everybody's trying to figure out what's going to happen, and that's hard to do," he said. "No one knows the future."

Asked what role national Republican leaders and members of the state's House delegation should have in making a decision on the electoral-vote plan, Corbett said: "A role in the decision? I think they have a role in giving input, but the decision is pretty much up to the legislature."


Contact politics writer Thomas Fitzgerald at 215-854-2718, tfitzgerald@phillynews.com, or @tomfitzgerald on Twitter.

Read his blog at www.philly.com/BigTent

 

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