Sam Rohrer’s Supporters Mount Write-In Campaign in Pennsylvania Governor’s Race

Symbolizing the growing gap between conservative activists embodied in the tea party movement and mainstream Republicans nationally, comes word of a fledgling write-in effort being mounted on behalf of Sam Rohrer, a Republican candidate for governor who was defeated by state Attorney General Tom Corbett, the party’s endorsed candidate, in last month’s Pennsylvania primary.

An eighteen-year veteran of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and leader in the movement to stop the national ID card, the 54-year-old Rohrer garnered 267,405 votes, or 31.3%, out of nearly 855,000 votes cast in the May 18 primary.

While the Berks County legislator, a longtime advocate of limited government who billed himself as the true conservative in the primary, has neither encouraged or discouraged the nascent write-in movement, which began to take shape only a few days after the state’s bruising primary election — a lopsided contest in which the heavily-favored attorney general and the GOP establishment unleashed a last-minute barrage of negative ads against Rohrer’s insurgent candidacy.

While remaining publicly aloof from the effort, Rohrer acknowledges that such an undertaking would be very difficult.

Rohrer’s supporters, meanwhile, are still angry about those unnecessary radio and televison attacks on their candidate, especially since Corbett — the party’s prohibitive favorite — already enjoyed what appeared to be an almost insurmountable lead in most public opinion polls in the days leading up to the primary.

“You don’t easily look past those kinds of cheap shots,” asserted one high-ranking Rohrer adviser shortly after the primary. “This wasn’t just a political campaign,” he said, adding that it was a genuine movement centered around a serious discussion of the issues facing the commonwealth.

More than 800 individuals have already joined the Facebook site promoting Rohrer’s unofficial write-in candidacy. The site was launched on May 23 by Vonne Andring, Rohrer’s western Pennsylvania campaign director. “That number grows daily and so does the dialogue,” Andring told Uncovered Politics on Sunday. “There’s a real face-off taking place — and that’s a great thing.”

An attractive and articulate spokesperson for the write-in effort, Andring is realistic about Rohrer’s chances as a write-in candidate, but explains that they’re engaged in more of a movement than an election. “We know the odds, and are realistic about the consequence and implications of our work,” she said.

She’s absolutely certain about one thing. “There is no doubt Sam would accept the post on a successful write-in.”

Statewide write-in campaigns rarely succeed, but it has happened.  Strom Thurmond of South Carolina was elected to the U.S. Senate as a write-in candidate in 1954, and controversial “goat-glands” doctor John R. Brinkley, who was officially credited with 183,278 write-in votes, probably would have been elected governor of Kansas at the outset of the Great Depression if election officials had actually counted all of the ballots in which voters tried to scribble in his name. 

Supported by tea party activists, numerous veterans of Ron Paul’s Campaign for Liberty, and hardcore conservatives — “Joe the Plummer” of 2008 presidential campaign fame even made an appearance for him during the primary — Rohrer’s potential as a write-in candidate surely worries Republican leaders in Pennsylvania, particularly since most pundits anticipate a close race this autumn between the white-haired Corbett and Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato, the Democratic nominee.

Pennsylvania Democrats are watching this development witha mixture of  glee and fascination.  The witty Mark B. Cohen, a  liberal lawmaker from northeast Philadelphia — one of the longest-serving members in the state legislature — delightfully suggested a slogan for the budding write-in movement: “Roar with Rohrer.”

A Rasmussen Reports poll released Saturday showed Corbett, who enjoys much higher name recognition at this point in the campaign, leading by sixteen percentage points among likely voters, but most experts expect the race to tighten considerably.

In the same poll, five percent indicated a preference for another candidate — a possible opportunity for Rohrer’s unauthorized write-in candidacy — while thirteen percent said they were undecided.

Despite Pennsylvania’s woefully pathetic record when it comes to tabulating write-in votes, this is an interesting development — one that will certainly be worth watching in the weeks and months ahead.

22 Comments

  1. Peter Gemma says:

    some political trivia: New mexico Republican Joe Skeen was elected as a write-in candidate to Congress in 1980

  2. I will vote for Sam as a write-in candidate in November. He’s the only one that I trust to bring back state’s rights and lower taxes. He is for abolishing the school property tax which is a much needed cut!

  3. Barbara Filipiak says:

    I will vote for sam Rohrer and so will all my friends, family and a lot of my clients. A write in. candidate is fine, it is better than no choice at all, people will vote for you,”Go for it Mr.Rohrer you can win.” All you need is a couple of advertisments in the News Paper and on TV to get the word out about your plan to eliminate school property taxes and you will get votes from D/R it does not matter which party they want school property taxes eliminated.

  4. I’ll vote him in too! He’s a George Washington in progess.

  5. Stephen Q. says:

    Strom Thurman was also elected by a write-in campaign. It can be done and we should all see to it that it is done if you care about your state of Pennsylvania. Corbett is just another republican progressive and we see were that gets us in Washington.

  6. Nurse John says:

    Corbett simply does not have the skills to lead our State out of the financial abyss in which our State currently exists. He would be nothing more than a marionette the strings of which would be manipulated by R. Gleason and the Republican party. Corbett has demonstrated his “shoot from the hip” personality on more than one occasion. He is a prosecutor. He is not business minded and knows nothing about the day to day responsibilities of governing. One has to wonder what he will get out of selling himself to the devil.

  7. Austin F. Cassidy says:

    What are the rules in PA about write-ins? Do they have to file with the elections office in order to be counted, similar to Florida and other states… or is it a free for all and any candidate can be “drafted” as a write-in without their authorization?

  8. Austin,

    In Pennsylvania, it is not the case that a write-in must be filed with the elections office, and yes the candidate may be “drafted” by a vote of the people at which time he or she may choose to accept of decline the post.

  9. Austin: PA write-ins are, as you put it, a “free-for-all.” If a candidate gets sufficient write-in votes to win, he/she can accept or decline the position. A candidate could announce his/her intentions and could actually stage a campaign if they wished. However, since Sam Rohrer was a major party candidate in the primaries he is forbidden by PA’s “sore loser” law to run as an independent on the ballot. I believe Sam campaigning as a write-in candidate would be a gray area and, because of this, could eventually be interpreted as a violation of the law. In Sam’s case it would be best for the movement to come strictly from the grassroots without his involvement.

  10. Girl Friday says:

    I will vote for Sam Rohrer. I cannot stomach the thought of voting for either Corbett or Onorato. Corbett took way too many cheap shots at Sam’s campaign, and I consider that beyond tacky. Additionally, I don’t believe that Corbett has the skills to pull off a successful run in office. Sam should have been the winner of the primary election. He is the only one with the skills to get us out of this quagmire.

  11. First of all, Sam rohrer is NOT the Tea party candidate. He has never been endorsed by the tea party and never will be. Second, a write in vote for Sam is a vote to continue the Obama agenda. As you can see in this article the democrats are gleeful over your pathetic display of arrogance. Shame on any of you that would put your ridiculous support behind one person only to help destroy our State by helping to keep it in the hands of the democrats control. Shame on all of you. This election isn’t about one person, it is about OUR COUNTRY! Your write in campaign will be the death of Pa should the democrat win. The information sent out by the corbett campaign was true. Sam did vote for a raise and did vote for benefits. Sorry the truth hurts, but just because after he made the mistake he decided he wanted to somehow “take it back” doesn’t make it a “negative ad”. It was the truth. Sam Rohrer was in office for seventeen years…SEVENTEEN YEARS! HE is the establishment candidate, NOT corbett. If Sam was so gung hoe to save our Country, why didn’t he do something about the liberals in all those seventeen years?

  12. Pingback: Rohrer write-in campaign rumors continue… | GrassrootsPA

  13. Clean Sweep says:

    Stop that pay jacker Rohrer

  14. The Republican State Committee made their bed when they endorsed Corbett before the primary. Only they could decide who would win the primary with their arrogance.. Than they sent out mailers trying to destroy another Republican. By the way Corbett actually got the PAY RAISE, Sam DID NOT. That was $100,000 over 18 years in expense and per diem. Corbett and twitter, no mention! Democrats won’t forget that. If Sam Rohrer had won, how would Republican State Committee members have back tracked? Corbett or Onorato, there is no difference? I for one will write in Sam Rohrer and many democrats will support Sam Rohrer. I will not allow the state committee to tell me who I must vote for. If Corbett loses, the State Committee can take the credit and thank themselves because Americans are really sick of campaign coffers deciding who wins an election. Elections should not be about who has the most money or who a few insiders support but, who can best represent their constituency. We are not sheep but, we are fed up!

  15. Come election day I am proudly
    writing in the name Samuel E. Rohrer
    for Governor. As the election day comes closer and if the gubernatioial
    race tightens up as is predicted. If Sam Rohrer should be at doulbe digits in support
    then things could get interesting.

  16. Sam has my vote in Nov and I hope to help this write in campain as much as I can.

  17. We will be having our 2nd Sam Rohrer “Write-In” campaign update meeting at Bob Evans Restaurant located at 2472 Lincoln Highway East, Lancaster on Monday, August 9, 2010 starting at 6pm and usually is over by 9pm. You don’t have to stay the entire time if you aren’t able. The number there is (717) 399-9630.

    Much has transpired since the last time our group met right after the primary and the Samuel E. Rohrer “write-in” campaign in coming into full swing which is good news since we only have 3 months left until the election on November 2, 2010.

    We will have sample remanufactured literature and labels sheets available so that if you have leftover literature you can “remanufacture” it at your leisure and start posting it at store bulletin boards and passing it out to fellow Pennsylvanians.

    We will also have yard sign samples available and sheets so that you can remanufacture your yard signs.

    Hope to see you there!
    Dan & Sue Nelms

    Let’s Restore Honor and Integrity to Harrisburg
    Write-In “Samuel E. Rohrer, Berks County” November 2, 2010
    http://www.SamRohrerWriteIn.org
    Volunteer at http://www.PatriotsForSamRohrer.org

  18. I too took great offense when the Republican Party took my vote away from me. The primary elections are supposed to be for the people to cast their vote and make their own minds up. The parties have no business endorsing anyone before the people choose who they want. They wonder why people don’t bother taking the time to vote. Well, this is exactly why the majority of the people don’t vote. They feel that it is a waste of time, as their vote never counts. I also would hate to see a democrat get the position. However, even people on CSPAN remarked how insignificant Corbett’s ideas of cutting cost were, Things like reducing the number of cars etc. I don’t know one way or the other how good of an attorney he is. He might excel in the field he chose and studied, but it is clear that he does not excel in ideas to turn this economy around. My family will definitely be writing Sam Rohrer in for Governor. We didn’t even see Sam until about a week before the primary, but when we did we got so excited and fell in love with him. In the past, we never went to vote more than an hour before the poles closed, but this time my husband called me at work and said he wanted to go early as he wanted to make sure that nothing happened to prevent us from voting for Sam. Please make sure that those who are as impressed with Sam as we are, write down how to write his name in case they try to throw out votes that aren’t spelled correctly. My husband and I where so infuriated when the Republican Party stole our vote. I think I would rather not vote at all verses voting for anyone that the Republican Party endorsed before the primary. The property taxes were recently mailed out, and I was wondering if I am the only one who has not seen the decrease in taxes that our current democratic governor promised for two terms. They could have reduced our taxes with the interest they could have earned just by putting the money; they got from the gambling casinos, in the bank. I trust Sam, and as far as I am concerned, integrity is the only thing you can count on. We need the taxes cut and drill baby drill.

    We love ya Sam,

    P.S. We have 3 businesses in N.Y. State. We were forced to turn to N.Y. State, as Pa offered no help other than a 6% loan. They didn’t even offer to help with the moving of equipment from the business that we were purchasing from out of state. That’s quite a few jobs that Pennsylvania chased away. I certainly haven’t cherished driving to N.Y. State every day.

    Luci

  19. I worked hard for Sam and believed he was the best candidate. Anyone who is writing his name in, what have you done in the past? Was this your fist time into politics? I have been endlessly working hard to get good conservatives into office (including running and winning an elected seat). This write-in is absolutely ridiculous. Do you know what Onaroto stands for? Once we split the votes, are you going to go back into your holes and I and every tea party person that has been doing this for 2 years endlessly are going to have to pick up the pieces that you left behind. Everyone needs to stop this campaign now. If you are worried about our country and you don’t think that Sam had a fair shake, do something about it instead of holding a temper tantrum. Run for offices. Change the way things are done in the party system. I don’t agree with it either and that is why I decided to run. You people are suppose to be adults. Now start acting like it. I work full time and do this about 6 hours every night. I am tired of the petty crap that is going here.

    I do believe in standing up for what is right. However, I don’t want to go full speed backwards. Most of the candidates I don’t believe are true conservatives. That is why I believe we hold their feet to the fire, not destroy what the tea party groups have already accomplished (which if you know anything about the groups), have made great strides. Don’t destroy it for our kids and grandkids.

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