HARRISBURG, Pa. (KDKA/AP) – With Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and John Kasich about to bring their hotly contested presidential race to the Pennsylvania Primary on April 26th, Monday was the last day to switch parties.
And the winner is the Republican party.
Since January 1st, some 85,277 Democrats and 42,588 independents have switched to the Republican party, for a total of 127,865 voters, according to the state elections bureau.
“ I think it’s primarily Trump who is getting people on, and the other thing that’s unique to Pennsylvania, I think, is John Kasich who was born in McKees Rocks,” says D. Raja, the new chairman of the Allegheny County Republican Party.
While native son Kasich might inspire a few switch-overs, Raja says it’s mostly Trump.
“Trump has some out of the box ideas, and his personality is such that he draws people in.”
In this area, the top counties for a switch Republican are Allegheny with 10,913; Westmoreland with 5,422; Washington with 2,789; Butler with 2,511; Fayette with 2,467; and Beaver County with 2,162 voters.
Credit Trump with attracting working class Democrats, says Cameron Linton, past president of Pitt’s College Republicans.
“I think the Democratic party over the past few decades has completely abandoned blue collar workers, and I think they realize that and someone like Donald Trump is giving them a voice within the GOP,” says Linton.
“They’ve been voting for Republicans for quite a while now. I think it is becoming more solidified.”
Of course, the party switching is not entirely one way
Becoming Democrats, some 34,350 Republicans and 52,177 independents have switched to the Democratic party, for a total of 86,527 voters.
That could be good news for Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton, but, again, as with Trump it’s all sheer speculation until the votes are cast on April 26th.
Earlier this month, Penn Live reported that nearly 46,000 Pennsylvania Democrats have switched to Republicans since the beginning of the year. One reason for the switch was attributed to Donald Trump.
(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)