A plan to split Pennsylvania's electoral vote would mean presidential candidates next year will need to focus on winning individual congressional districts, not just the statewide popular vote. That has political strategists considering how the plan will be a game-changer for their line of work.
Democrats are calling the plan a power grab, a realpolitik way of making it more difficult for their party to carry the state's electoral winner-take-all vote. But congressional and state Republicans are also urging caution because the change might put their party in the cross-hairs of a national political push.
Ray Zaborney, a GOP political consultant, said what voters might notice if the winner-take-all system were scrapped, would be presidential campaigns that stop in smaller cities because that's where the swing districts will be.
"It'll turn some of these congressional districts make it look more like Iowa and New Hampshire, as opposed to just fighting over a broad swath of the state," Zaborney said. "Remember, now when presidential candidates come in to campaign, they go to Philadelphia, they go to Pittsburgh."
The proposal to change how the electoral votes are won comes from Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, a Chester County Republican, and is supported by Governor Tom Corbett. Democratic strategist Larry Ceisler calls it a horrible idea. He envisions the national parties circling the wagons around the districts they can protect and abandoning those that aren't sure wins.
"So what's going to happen is, all this money, and resources that's come into Pennsylvania because we're a battleground state," Ceisler said. "It's not going to happen, because there's going to be really nothing to contest."
State House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) believes the Republican-controlled legislature has enough votes to pass the proposal without any Democratic support.