Republican Voter Rolls Thin Out Nationwide as Party Navigates Internal Struggle


Preoccupied with bitter internal conflict at the outset of the Joe Biden era, the Republican Party appears to have a breach somewhere in its hull.

A slew of recently released estimates reveals that the GOP lost tens of thousands of swing-state voters last month, prompting nationwide mass media inference that the party may bleed electorally as a result of the Jan. 6 incursion into the U.S. Capitol.

According to aggregation done by The Hill, post-riot voter registration hits came to the tune of 30,000 disassociated voters across Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Maryland, North Carolina and Pennsylvania collectively.

While confirmation efforts did turn up official evidence that those losses had totaled in the thousands, a variety of experts, party operatives and government officials were hesitant to draw hard conclusions as to why that may be. Some even told The Western Journal it was nothing to be concerned about, given how low those estimates are, relative to registration writ large.

Government data provided to The Western Journal reveals the Pennsylvania Republican Party saw net voter losses as high as 41,000 between Dec 28, 2020, and Jan. 25, 2021. More than 3,476 of those individuals even went so far as to reregister as Democrats. Meanwhile, the Arizona GOP saw 4,937 voters leave the party between Jan. 6 and Jan. 15, with another 3,123 doing the same in the week that followed.

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Whether this exodus had anything to do with the Capitol Hill incursion, however, may be more difficult to ascertain than the two events’ proximity suggests.

Communication with the state departments of Florida and Arizona, for instance, indicated that the voter registration tracked by government officials can vary dramatically from state to state, with most governments recording the data on a weekly or monthly basis — and some failing to maintain and report party-to-party changes at all.

“The Secretary of State’s Office does not explicitly track party changes for reporting purposes,” Arizona State Department spokeswoman Sophia Solis told The Western Journal. “We can audit the data for value changes. In this case we can look at when a change to the party value was made, and the old and new values for the field.”

She went on to add that this is “not exactly precise because the date the value was changed is what the system records.” In other words, registration changes logged after the Capitol incursion — or any other event — may have initially been filed prior to the event.

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But that has not stopped the establishment media from drawing its own conclusions, with outlets like NPR reporting the story from the perspective of traditional Republicans like Denver father Lyle Darrah, who went on record as “shocked and ashamed” by the party’s behavior in light of the 2020 presidential election.

Such narratives were to be expected, according to Morgan Marietta, a professor at the University of Massachusetts Lowell Center for Public Opinion, who suggested the optics of the Capitol incursion had provided left-wing opportunists plenty of room to stick and move politically.

“One of the strongest campaign strategies of the Democratic Party will be to make expressions of support for Republicans akin to support for insurrection, violence, and racism, driving voters to abandon support for GOP candidates,” Marietta told The Western Journal. “Whether support will truly decline or merely be driven underground is yet to be seen.”

Marietta was anything but comfortable counting out the possibility that it was Trump loyalists making their departure from the party, however.

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A recent surge in voter registration led to record Republican turnout in the 2020 presidential election. And plenty of evidence suggests that surge may have been led by populist voters looking for a home “in the Trump party,” as Politico reported last September.

“Whether declines in Republican voter registration are Trump supporters leaving in disgust over the establishment, or traditional conservatives leaving in disgust over the populists, may determine the future of the Party,” Marietta told The Western Journal. “Both of those are plausible; I am not sure yet which is dominant.”

Active and former Republican Party employees of varying rank came down on every side of that conundrum, all of them willing to speculate off the record as to which voting bloc was making for the exits and which was to blame.

The consensus came only on one front: That the ideological infighting and brief period of voter affiliation should not be a priority going forward.

“Relatively small voter registration changes in the pool of seven million registered voters in North Carolina do not particularly concern us,” Tim Wigginton, the GOP communications director for North Carolina, told The Western Journal. The state accounted for roughly 6,000 Republican voter registration changes last month.

“We are confident that as voters compare the Republican America First agenda to Biden’s America Last policies; Republicans will do well in the 2022 midterm and keep North Carolina red in 2024.”

The lack of concern was not exclusive to GOP flacks, either.

According to Western Carolina political science professor Chris Cooper, whom Wigginton himself described as a progressive, the development was “not an election changer” by any means.

“We’re talking about a few thousand people in an electorate of 7 million people. On the other hand, the fact that it’s such a big shift of patterns is what tells us this is something to pay attention to,” Cooper told WNCN-TV.

“Time will tell whether we see it week after week after week. We’re going to have to keep an eye on this.

“But if I’m the Republican Party, this is a little bit like, ‘Your temperature’s up, you need to pay attention to this and see if it gets worse.’ And if it does, I think it’s going to be a real warning sign for the party.”

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Andrew J. Sciascia was the supervising editor of features at The Western Journal. Having joined up as a regular contributor of opinion in 2018, he went on to cover the Barrett confirmation and 2020 presidential election for the outlet, regularly co-hosting its video podcast, "WJ Live," as well.
Andrew J. Sciascia was the supervising editor of features at The Western Journal and regularly co-hosted the outlet's video podcast, "WJ Live."

Sciascia first joined up with The Western Journal as a regular contributor of opinion in 2018, before graduating with a degree in criminal justice and political science from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, where he served as editor-in-chief of the student newspaper and worked briefly as a political operative with the Massachusetts Republican Party.

He covered the Barrett confirmation and 2020 presidential election for The Western Journal. His work has also appeared in The Daily Caller.