ORLANDO, Fla. -- Charlie Gerow, the Harrisburg consultant of who is one of of the architects of the proposal to transform Pennsylvania's electoral vote system, took time away from his efforts to influence his own state's politics to appear in Orlando on a panel discussion at the Conservative Political Action Conference.He predicted that President Obama faces a tough road next year because of the erosion of his standing among independent voters.
Afterwards, he defended the controversial proposal to award the state's electoral votes by congressional district rather than the traditional statewide winner take all approach. Some critics of the plan fear that it would deprive Pennsylvania of its status as a hotly contested swing state _ that in the future presidential candidates would skip ignore most of the state where the House districts lean to one party or the other, and instead concentrate on a handful of competitive districts, most of them in the Philadelphia suburbs and Lehigh Valley. Mr. Gerow dismissed that analysis pointing to several western Pennsylvania seats that he contended would still be in play in 2012.
Mr. Gerow, the CEO of Quantam Communications, argued that the White House nominees would still face competitive contests in a new, combined Altmire-Crist seat, the 3rd District, now held by Rep. Mike Kelly, and the 18th District seat held by Rep. Tim Murphy. Since the new districts haven't been drawn yet, it's hard to know if that analysis is correct. But the results of the 2008 presidential contest don't seem to lend too much weight to that argument. Every district west of the Susquehanna River went solidly for one presidential candidate or the other: the 14th, covering the city of Pittsburgh and the Mon Valley went for President Obama by a wide margin, while each of the others favored Sen. John McCain by similarly comfortable margins.