Sunday, April 24, 2016

The 2016 Pennsylvania Primary Election

           The 2016 Primary Election on Tuesday, April 26 will be historic, as it is the first contested presidential primary among Republicans since 1980, with the possibility of a contested Convention for the first time in 40 years, and includes a candidate who is a native Pennsylvanian.  

           There are also contests of particular interest to conservatives for Attorney General, United States Representative and state legislative offices, as well as ballot questions.

For the Republican nomination for U.S. President, there are three major candidates remaining.  One of them is a native of the Keystone State who resided here until he went to college in neighboring Ohio while his family continued to reside in McKees Rocks, Allegheny County.  The only Pennsylvanian ever elected President was Democrat James Buchanan in 1856. 

In the interest of full disclosure, John Kasich of Ohio, then a U.S. Representative, came to Reading in 2000 to address the Berks County Republican Committee, interviewed me and endorsed me for State Representative.  His political committee sent me a generous donation.  Neither Kasich nor his campaign has ever asked me for anything in return.

Pennsylvania Republicans also elect Delegates to the Republican National Convention and Alternate Delegates in the Primary.  Pennsylvania will send 71 Delegates to the Convention, which includes 17 elected at-large who are bound to the candidate who receives the most statewide votes.  Three Delegates are directly elected from each of the 18 Congressional Districts, for a total of 54.  Officially unbound, some candidates for Delegate are personally committed to particular candidates.  Others are uncommitted, as there would be several weeks of significant developments between the primary and the Convention in July, while others promise to vote, at least on the first ballot at the Convention, for the candidate who receives the most votes in their Congressional District.  The same is true for the candidates for Alternate Delegate.

            To be nominated for President or Vice President, one must receive a majority vote of the Delegates.  Therefore, no candidate is eliminated unless someone attains a majority in the balloting by the Delegates at the Convention.  It is possible that no candidate will win a majority on at least the first ballot.  Delegates bound to certain candidates, including to a number of candidates who have suspended their campaigns, would then be free to exercise their good judgment as to which candidate would best represent the GOP and its conservative platform and could be elected to office. 

            Conservative Pat Toomey is uncontested for renomination for U.S. Senate, but there are contests in several Districts, including the 16th, which includes Reading, for U.S. Representative around Pennsylvania

            There are nominations for statewide executive offices on the ballot for state Attorney General, for which there is a contested primary between two qualified conservatives, Treasurer and Auditor General.  Nominations for all state House seats and half of the seats in the state Senate are on the ballot.  There are contests in some of these districts. 

            There are conservative candidates for many of these offices, or at least relatively more conservative candidates to choose. 

            There is also a Constitutional referendum, as well as local questions on the ballot of interest to conservatives.  

           The 2016 Pennsylvania Primary is the most significant in decades.  Conservatives should make plans now to vote on Tuesday, April 26 to choose the candidates who best represent the Republican Party and its conservative platform and who are likeliest to be elected in the General Election.

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