thousands of voters who tend to be elderly, disabled, racial minorities and
"The voter law is a serious deterrent to any outreach Republicans are going to make," said political analyst G. Terry Madonna of Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster.
"There's a difference between rhetoric and action," said longtime state Rep. Dwight Evans, D-Philadelphia, who is black.
Evans contends cuts to state funding for public schools -- made by the GOP-majority legislature and signed by Corbett -- caused a funding crisis in Philadelphia and pose problems for any Republican effort to get votes. Blacks, Hispanics and other minorities comprise a majority in Philadelphia.
The Corbett administration denied Evans' assertion.
Keep core values
The party might make headway with Latinos by highlighting Republican support for "family values," Roddey said.
Westmoreland County GOP Chairwoman Jill Cooper said there needs to be a way for "everyone to have some form of citizenship. The thought of sending them all back isn't going to happen. I'd like to see our party be part of the solution."
Lowman Henry, chairman and CEO of the Lincoln Institute of Public Opinion Research and a former Republican Westmoreland County jury commissioner and county GOP chairman, said the party needs a message "that appeals to broad segments of the population without coming off as a watered-down version of the Democrats."
Republicans "need to stop scaring people," Henry said. "Obviously we need to secure our borders, but it is hard to make inroads with Hispanics when they are talking about sending grandma back to Mexico."
Leckrone of Widener University said that instead of suggesting ways to cut the size of government, Republicans instead should talk about "reworking government and making it work better for people."
Corbett's campaign chairman, Mike Barley, lauded the governor's tenure as one marked by "fiscal responsibility, limited government, a comprehensive energy strategy and lower taxes."
"They are the principles that have guided Gov. Corbett's tenure in office, resulting in an economic resurgence in Pennsylvania and 130,000 private-sector jobs," he said.
"I think we have a shot at electing Corbett," said Fred Anton, president of the Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association and a prominent GOP leader.
Beth Melena, a Pennsylvania Democratic Party spokeswoman, doesn't see it that way.
"Republicans can try to rebrand all they want, but the truth is it's their out-of-touch policies that are the problem," Melena said.
She said Corbett, whom many analysts view as the most vulnerable incumbent governor, "is the face of the failed Republican rebrand."
Roddey said the message for the presidential election is unclear. Republicans generally "need to be talking about core values, with less emphasis on social issues," he said. That means emphasizing "jobs, the economy, smaller government and lower taxes."
Brad Bumsted is Trib Total Media's state Capitol reporter. Reach him at 717-787-1405 or email@example.com.
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