Never Trump Philly Republican Eyeing US Senate Seat, But Pennsylvania GOP Remains Solidly Pro-Trump

A Never Trump Republican who supported Hillary Clinton in 2016 is eyeing a soon-to-be vacant US Senate seat, but a solidly pro-Trump state GOP may complicate matters for him.

Craig Snyder is a business and political consultant from Philadelphia who is looking at running for the seat of retiring senator Pat Toomey. He discussed his potential candidacy in a recent profile written by the Philadelphia Inquirer, saying that he wants to return the GOP to “the non-Trump brand of Republicanism that I believe in.”

Snyder believes that a crowded GOP primary could help him, because if several pro-Trump candidates run, pro-Trump voters might then split their votes among different candidates. And according to Ballotpedia, winners of primary contests in the state of Pennsylvania are determined by plurality vote, meaning that a candidate need not receive 50 percent of the vote to obtain the party’s nomination.

That may sound beneficial to Snyder, but the one major obstacle to his success could be the Pennsylvania Republican Party itself. On January 26 Politico published a piece titled “Pennsylvania GOP pledges full allegiance to Trump.” Article author Holly Otterbein highlighted the state party transformation from establishment-oriented to strongly pro-Trump as something that’s been “decades in the making” but that’s also “never been so obvious as in the past two months.”

If you recall, Pennsylvania was one of the several battleground states at the center of widespread voter fraud allegations. All but one House Republican in the Pennsylvania congressional delegation voted to object to the state’s Electoral College votes. This does not sound like a state party that’d be enthusiastic about a consistent Never Trumper running for a crucial US Senate seat.

Suffice it to say that Pennsylvania will be a state to watch come 2022. “Next year offers another referendum on the Trumpification of Pennsylvania Republicans: There will be rare open seats for both governor and senator,” Otterbein writes. “Democrats and Never-Trump Republicans promise to ensure that swing voters remember the efforts to overturn the state’s presidential election results based on allegations that were without evidence. Republicans say the party’s pro-Trump base will be energized by lawmakers who railed against election fraud and objected to Biden electors.”