Several weeks after the November 2020 election, a group of Pennsylvania Republicans designated themselves as electoral college voters on behalf of President Donald Trump.
Trump had lost his reelection bid, in Pennsylvania and nationally, so their services were unneeded. But Trump campaign lawyer Rudy Giuliani and others said they should get ready to vote the president in for another term nonetheless, in case the results changed.
Similar “fake elector” or “alternate elector” schemes were also underway in six other states. They were later investigated by the Justice Department and Special Counsel Jack Smith, who on Aug. 1 indicted Trump for trying to overturn the election.
In Michigan, 16 of these electors now face state-level forgery charges, and prosecutors in Arizona and Georgia continue to investigate the plots in their states.
In Pennsylvania, however, the would-be electors took more care to legally protect themselves. They were careful to insert a line in their elector certificate saying their votes were only meant to count if the Trump campaign’s legal challenges to the state election results were successful.
That concerned Trump campaign officials, who tried to prevent electors in the other states from learning about the Pennsylvania language, according to the recent indictment. New Mexico was the only state where the fake electors ended up including a similar line.
Because of the caveat, Pennsylvania’s alternate electors are unlikely to face charges, legal experts say. Some of them continue to defend their effort as a legitimate contingency plan, given the legal battles at the time.
Some of the commonwealth’s fake electors have been interviewed by the FBI, and possibly by investigators working for the special counsel.
But with a couple possible exceptions, their lives appear not to have been disrupted by the ongoing battle over the 2020 election, or by prosecutions stemming from the elector scheme and the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Some continue to serve as leaders of Pa.’s Republican party and to influence local and national politics.
Here’s a look at what each of the 20 Pennsylvanians are currently up to.
Bachenberg, a Bethlehem businessman, was chairman of Pennsylvania’s group of fake electors. Along with a lawyer from Michigan, he hired cybersecurity company XRVision, Ltd. to look for fraud in the 2020 election.
He owns Lehigh Valley Sporting Clays, a clay-target shooting range in Coplay, in the Lehigh Valley. XRVision recently sued Bachenberg and the Michigan lawyer, alleging that it refused their demand to falsely report finding evidence of election system hacking, and is still owed $550,000 for its services.
Barletta is a former GOP congressman and mayor from Hazleton in Luzerne County who ran for governor in 2022.
Once an ardent Trump supporter, earlier this year he switched allegiances to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ presidential campaign. He also serves on the advisory board of American Greatness, an advocacy group and associated PAC formed in 2021 by former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale.
Thomas J. Carroll
Carroll is a Montgomery County attorney and one-time Republican candidate for the state House who has been involved in election-related lawsuits.
Carroll sued various state and local officials on behalf of local Republicans in 2021, alleging fraud and a cover-up during the 2020 election. He also defended Fulton County officials after they allowed a forensics company to secretly copy data from voting machines. In April, the state Supreme Court ruled Carroll liable for costs expended by the Pa. Department of State and Dominion Voting Systems, and referred him to an Attorney Disciplinary Board for investigation.
Christian, of Bucks County, is a longtime Republican operative and lobbyist who was state director of Trump’s presidential campaign in Pennsylvania in 2016 and a senior advisor in 2020. He works at Duane Morris Government Strategies in Philadelphia, overseeing business matters in the city, New Jersey and Washington.
Coccodrilli died in October 2021 at the age of 59. A resident of Wayne County in northeastern Pa., he was a board member at the Pennsylvania Great Frontier PAC, which supports Republicans, as well as a Trump campaign volunteer, fracking advocate, supporter of disabled veterans, and shooting enthusiast.
Comfort, of the Allentown area, is vice chair of the state Republican Party and managing director for public affairs at Novak Strategic Advisors, a government relations firm in Harrisburg. In 2019 she was the Trump campaign chairwoman in the state and served on the National Women for Trump Advisory Board.
Sam DeMarco III
DeMarco lives in North Fayette Township, outside of Pittsburgh, and is an Allegheny County councilmember and chair of the county Republican party. He’s also the chair of possible U.S. Senate candidate David McCormick’s political action committee. He has worked in sales and account management for Ricoh and other imaging tech companies.
DeMarco was interviewed by FBI agents but recently declined to say whether he’s been in contact with investigators for Special Counsel Jack Smith.
Diaz-Myers, of Hummelstown, is deputy chair of the PA GOP and chair of its Hispanic Advisory Council. She’s a member of the Lower Dauphin School Board and past president of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association, and has worked as a health care consultant.
Ferro, of East Stroudsburg, is the Monroe County Register of Wills and Recorder of Deeds and a former president of the Pennsylvania Federation of Republican Women. In 2020 and 2022 she was a plaintiff in lawsuits seeking to block certain activities of the Monroe County Board of Elections, including pre-canvassing of ballots and allowing voters to fix defective ballots.
Gerow, of Cumberland County, is a longtime Republican strategist and CEO of the Harrisburg public affairs firm Quantum Communications, where the fake electors met on Dec. 14, 2020.
Gerow has defended the propriety of Pennsylvania’s alternative-elector effort and said recently that he and his colleague Kevin Harley, another potential elector, have not had any contact with Smith’s investigators.
Gerow was a candidate for governor last year and previously ran for Congress and Pa. Senate. He’s also a board member for CPAC and other conservative organizations.
Harley is Quantum Communications’ managing director and a former spokesperson for Gov. Tom Corbett and other officials.
Hoopes is a conservative activist from Bethel Township who tried to take a lawsuit against the Delaware County Board of Elections to the U.S. Supreme Court. She also co-wrote a book about purported election fraud.
One suit filed by Hoopes and other plaintiffs alleged the Delco elections board mishandled ballots during the 2020 election and the results should not be certified. Another suit charged that plaintiffs were improperly restricted from observing ballot counting; in January the top court declined to hear the case.
Hoopes, along with Trump and several others, is being sued by a Delaware County elections official who says he was defamed by baseless vote-tampering allegations.
He’s a metallurgist and manufacturing consultant, previously worked for the state Department of Community and Economic Development, and served on state industrial boards and Philadelphia’s Manufacturing Task Force, according to his LinkedIn profile.
McCoy is a security consultant at Wheatley SPI in Bala Cynwyd, according to his LinkedIn profile and reporting by the Arizona Republic newspaper.
In addition to participating in the fake elector scheme, McCoy worked on the attempt to change the 2020 election results in Arizona by “auditing” the ballots cast in Maricopa County, the paper reported.
Lisa Vranicar Patton
Patton was a member of the Women for Trump statewide leadership team in 2016 and was secretary of the December 2020 meeting of false electors.
A former professional ice skater, she owned Twin Ponds, a rink in Mechanicsburg, Cumberland County that served as a Trump campaign office. The rink was later sold but the Pattons continue to operate another one in Harrisburg. An ardent supporter of David McCormick during his 2022 U.S. Senate run, she moved to San Diego, California last year, according to her social media accounts.
Originally from Philadelphia, Poprik lives in Doylestown and is chair of the Bucks County Republican Committee.
She has an investment banking firm in Langhorne and previously served as a Penn State trustee, a member of the State System of Higher Education’s Board of Governors, and on various other public boards.
Reilly is a Middletown Township resident and national committeeperson for the state Republican Party.
Described as the “behind the scenes” manager of many local, state, and judicial campaigns, he has served as the state party’s secretary, as chairman of the Delaware County Republican Party, and as a Delaware County Council member for two terms. An attorney focusing on civil litigation and municipal law, he previously worked at a Media law firm and in 2021 moved to Saxton & Stump in Malvern.
Smith was on the advisory board of Gun Owners/Sportsmen For Trump during the 2020 campaign and was a regional field director for the McCormick Senate campaign last year.
She’s a self-defense instructor and the longtime owner of a martial arts school, The Dragons Way School of Kenpo Karate, in Carlisle. In December 2020 she also opened a firearms training center, Patriot Arms Inc., and this year she became state director of Gun Owners of America-Pennsylvania.
Tucker, a Philadelphia resident, tried to boost support for Trump among Black city residents in 2016 and was a Republican National Convention delegate that year.
He’s the former deputy chair of the PA GOP and currently its director of engagement and advancement, and has served as a ward leader and head of the Germantown Republican Club and the Philadelphia Black Republican Council. He’s a managing partner at Eagles Capital Advisors in Bala Cynwyd and former WURD radio host.
Electors who backed out
Seven other Pennsylvania Republicans initially planned to be Trump electors but ultimately declined to participate. They were Lawrence Tabas, a Philadelphia resident who is the current PA GOP chairman, and Robert Asher, Robert Gleason, former U.S. Rep. Thomas Marino, Lance Stange, Christine Toretti, and former Chester County sheriff Carolyn “Bunny” Welsh.
The article has been updated to add Sam DeMarco’s role in the McCormick campaign PAC.