Elected officials and political strategists are trying to assess the effect of the 16-day federal government shutdown on political capital in Pennsylvania and most are finding it hard to see much damage.
Republican strategist Charlie Gerow thinks the shutdown debate will strengthen GOP candidates because it clarified their message.
“One is the incredible increase in the national debt, and two – the disaster of Obamacare,” Gerow said.
But after the shutdown-inducing fight, Republicans seem no closer to changing the Affordable Care Act or reducing the national debt.
Muhlenberg College pollster and political science professor Chris Borick has done his own research. He said voter surveys show the past few weeks of squabbling have damaged the Republican Party’s brand with moderates, but it’s not clear if that even matters.
“While it’s an important group electorally, in terms of raising funds, it’s a little different ball game,” Borick said.
That fundraising game, according to Borick is run by the more conservative are of the party.
Harrisburg-based GOP consultant Ray Zaborney said Congressional candidates won’t see their fundraising take a hit because of how they voted.
“What happens when you get elected to congress is you go there to represent your district. And for many of these people, a lot of people didn’t want the debt ceiling to be raised in their districts, and in other districts, it was a concern of what would happen to the economy if we didn’t raise it,” said Zaborney.
Nine of Pennsylvania’s 13 House members voted against a measure to reopen the federal government and avert a default on U.S. debt.