For Republicans, Figuring Out Suburbs Key to Winning Elections

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Pennsylvania is rated among the swing states by pundits, with Philadelphia and Pittsburgh standing as Democratic strongholds while rural Pennsylvania is almost exclusively Republican, writes Guy Ciarrocchi, former CEO of Chester County Chamber of Busniness & Industry, for Real Clear Pennsylvania.

As a result, the critical battle is being waged in Philadelphia’s suburbs, which constitute around 22 percent of the Keystone State’s registered voters and have a higher turnout than in other areas.

Pennsylvania’s population has grown just 7 percent since 1980, but suburban Philadelphia bucks the low-population growth trend. In Chester County, for example, the population has grown 68 percent over that same period. Meanwhile, the rural population is shrinking.

Suburban Philadelphia has been a Republican stronghold until recently. Chester County voted for GOP presidential candidates until 2008, when it voted for Barack Obama. Since then, the suburbs have been leaning more and more toward Democrats. Today, just 9 out of 43 state representatives from Philadelphia’s suburbs are Republican.

This puts Republicans in the unenviable position of winning the support of shrinking communities while Democrats are taking over growing communities.

This means GOP has to focus on the suburbs if it wants to turn the tide of the latest election cycles.

Read more about the issue in Real Clear Pennsylvania.

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