State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.
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For some Republicans, "new era" isn't so sweet

Written by Mary Wilson, Former Capitol Bureau Chief | Nov 22, 2013 3:13 PM

Photo by Mary Wilson / witf

Rep. Seth Grove (R-York)

Gov. Corbett addressed reporters shortly after the House passed a final concurrence vote on a $2.3 billion transportation funding plan, saying the bill's passage ushers in a "new era."

But that era means some lawmakers are already steeling themselves for tough election battles as a result of their votes.

"I know I'm going to be primaried, I'm going to get a general election," said Rep. Stan Saylor (R-York) Thursday. He's among the lawmakers who flipped from nay to yea on the transportation bill, and even before the concurrence vote, he had resigned himself to a tough re-election fight next year.

"I expect a primary," Saylor said. "You know, CAP's out there. They're against us."

CAP, or the Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania, is the limited government political action group that keeps a watchful eye over Republicans in the Legislature. It raises money for members who vote according to its values and bankrolls primary election challengers to lawmakers it sees as too far afield - the ones who vote for higher motorist fees and uncapped gas taxes, for example.

"Who Changed Their Mind About a Massive Tax Hike?" read one of its e-mails this week following the House's first vote to advance the transportation measure. "Please, take a few moments to contact your Senator and let them know you oppose this effort to squeeze more money from taxpayers."

Other members are feeling the heat from different corners. Rep. Will Tallman (R-Adams County) started the week against the bill, flipped to yes, and switch back to no again for the final vote. One Republican leader said on that last flip, he was reacting to an e-mail sent by his a local GOP County chairperson to Republican constituents, blasting him for his mid-week yea vote.

Some prefer to look on the bright side of what they've gained as a result of their switched vote. Another York County Republican, Seth Grove, said he's not worried about defending his 11th hour change of heart to support the transportation plan. He held out long enough to be assured the state's prevailing wage law would be changed to let smaller public works projects pay lower wages, a move to help local governments afford more projects.

"I campaigned last time on getting prevailing wage reform done," Grove said. "To date, no one's been able to do it. Done tonight."

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