from the inbox:
Auditor General Jack Wagner said today that changing Pennsylvania’s awarding of Electoral College votes from a winner-take-all format to one based on results in individual Congressional districts could cost the commonwealth millions of dollars of economic activity during next year’s presidential race.
In 2008, the presidential and vice-presidential campaigns spent $71.2 million in advertising alone in Pennsylvania, in addition to 47 visits in pursuit of the state’s 21 electoral votes. Dividing Pennsylvania’s Electoral College votes according to Congressional district results would dilute Pennsylvania’s political importance in a national race, and reduce the number of campaign appearances by both presidential candidates – resulting in lost economic activity for Pennsylvania hotels, restaurants, media purchases and other services, Wagner said.
Maine and Nebraska are the only two states that split their Electoral College vote, and Nebraska is considering switching back to a winner-take-all format, Wagner noted. The 2008 presidential candidates spent only $1.7 million in Maine and only about $57,500 in Nebraska, and the campaigns made only two visits to each state during the entire election season.
“At a time when Pennsylvania’s economy is struggling, we cannot afford to jeopardize one job, let alone hundreds of jobs, with a drastic change in how Electoral College votes are counted in Pennsylvania,” Wagner said. “As Pennsylvania’s independent fiscal watchdog, I am very concerned about Pennsylvania losing the significant dollars that would be spent here, as well as losing its political clout as a battleground state with this anticipated change to our Electoral College process.
“We are not Maine or Nebraska – we are the Keystone state, and we should think carefully about giving up that prominent position.”