Keystone Politics is hearing from multiple sources that Pennsylvania House Speaker Sam Smith may retire, rather than face re-election against Tea Party challengers in a 2014 re-election bid. In 2012, Smith won his 13th term with 49% of the vote against two near-unknown challengers from his right.
Smith’s district, HD-66, has a solid GOP registration advantage of 55% Republican to 35% Democratic.
Although age and tenure will likely be listed as the reason for Smith’s retirement, Smith’s situation is symptomatic of a growing rift in the Pennsylvania Republican Party—that establishment Republicans are being ousted by far-right conservatives.
On the other hand, compromise-minded Democrats in the general assembly should take notice. Smith regularly crossed the aisle to enact compromise legislation supported by Democrats, most recently the transportation bill.
Smith’s retirement may be a loss to Republicans, but House Democrats may face greater legislative consequences.
Chris Dush, who ran against Smith in the 2012 primary, is the only announced Republican candidate in the district.