Despite a poor showing in statewide judicial races in 2023, Pennsylvania Republicans are bullish for 2024.
It’s a presidential election year and so far former President Trump is leading in the polls for the primary so barring an unforeseen event, the general election will likely be a rematch of Trump against President Biden.
“I think in Pennsylvania, the Republicans will do very, very well,” said Republican consultant Charlie Gerow, CEO of Quantum Communications. “And as Pennsylvania goes, so goes the nation.”
Asked about the losses in 2023, Gerow said, “2023 was an ‘off-year election’ with a very different electorate than the folks who will show up at the polls next year.”
More people come out and vote in presidential election years.
“You’re going to have three times the number of voters participating in 2024 as you had in 2023,” said Gerow.
Scott Presler, a Republican voter registration activist who has been focusing on registering Pennsylvania voters this year, including spending three days in December at a recent gun show in Oaks, is also bullish.
“I feel more confident today about Republicans winning the presidency in 2024, than I did a year ago,” said Presler.
He points with pride to the recent “flip” of Beaver County from Democrat to Republican and believes Bucks County may be next. Luzerne and Centre counties are also on the cusp of flipping from blue to red.
In the first two weeks in December, the Democrats lost 2,165 voters while Republicans gained 3,530 voters.
“Republicans had a net gain of 5,695 voters in 14 days,” said Presler, who was also recently in Philadelphia teaching local Republicans how to register voters.
“This is monumental when you think of Joe Biden winning Pennsylvania in 2020 by 80,000 votes,” said Presler. “So I think 2024 is going to be a great year. I think Pennsylvania is winnable and anecdotally from what I’ve experienced the last three days at the gun show, granted it’s a gun show. These are Second Amendment voters.”
“Republican momentum is on the rise, with another Pennsylvania county flipping from blue to red just this week. The RNC is continuing to register Republican voters and encouraging them to ‘bank’ their vote for Republicans up and down the ballot in 2024, as Pennsylvanians stand ready to Beat Biden and retire Bob Casey once and for all!” said RNC Spokesperson Rachel Lee.
In November of 2021, Pennsylvania Democrats had 605,188 more voters than Republicans. Republicans have reduced Democrats’ advantage by over 161,000 voters in the last two years.
In 2023, some 50,000 Democrats and Independents have re-registered as Republicans in Pennsylvania.
The RNC is also pushing mail-in ballots in a Bank Your Vote campaign, to cut into the Democrats’ lead in that arena.
“People are hungry for change. One woman who was born in 1965 never registered to vote her entire life. She registered for the first time with me as a Republican,” said Presler.
“What I’m hearing from people is the theme, what they’re saying to me is, ‘The world is in chaos. The world is upside down and it’s time for a change.’ That’s what I’m hearing over and over again,” said Presler.
Many DelVal voters still abhor Trump and will likely never vote for him.
“Well, in other parts of the state, they are,” said Gerow.
“And, as you know, Donald Trump won here in Pennsylvania in 2016, and lost narrowly in 2020. So he’s got a very clear path to win again in 2024,” said Gerow. “And I believe he will.”
Asked about abortion, which Democrats have been successfully using as a wedge issue, including to attack Judge Carolyn Carluccio, the Republican who ran for the Supreme Court, Gerow believes that issue will fade.
“I don’t think it’s going to be as big as some of our Democratic friends will like it to be,” said Gerow. “I think the economy is going to be the dominant issue next year and the devastation of Bidenomics is going to reflect in the results.”
The other marquee race will be three-term incumbent Sen. Bob Casey who is being challenged by Dave McCormick, a Gulf War veteran, a successful businessman who also served in the Bush administration.
Gerow said, “Dave McCormick’s entire life is action packed. He gets things done. His record of accomplishment in the private sector far exceeds Bob Casey’s 34 years in politics. People are increasingly asking, ‘What has Bob Casey actually done?’ They don’t ask that about Dave McCormick.”
“I think it always boils down to personalities,” said Gerow.
He also pointed to Philadelphia state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, who the state Democratic Party endorsed for auditor general, over two other candidates.
“He’s a Marxist for crying out loud,” said Gerow. “That’s where the Democratic Party is right now. It’s identity politics. He’s African American. He’s gay. He checks all the boxes. That’s what they’re looking for, not competency. That guy’s got no business running for auditor general.”
In contrast, incumbent Timothy DeFoor, who is also African American, has a strong background in auditing and accounting.
In addition to the economy, Presler said people are concerned with rising crime. He is convincing Philadelphians to either register Republican as first-time voters or to switch parties based on rising crime.
“I’m getting formerly incarcerated people,” he said. “Business owners. They’ve changed their lives and they’re going ‘Oh my gosh, the taxes are incredible. Inflation is incredible. Crime is rising. The streets aren’t being cleaned.”
“Unlike 2020 or 2016, you’re going to see millions of people who have never been part of the process coming out to vote,” said Presler.