Republican State Rep. K.C. Tomlinson Is Not a Moderate

When push comes to shove, the Bucks County lawmaker is a reliable vote for the PA GOP and its extremist agenda.
Screenshot of State Rep. K.C. Tomlinson.

As news about the FBI serving a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago began to circulate on Monday, a veritable frenzy occurred on social media and not in a good way. Platforms like Gab, Parler, Rumble, and even Twitter, began to swell with messaging that encouraged violence toward an assortment of targets, including against law enforcement. So much for backing the blue.

While calls to action and indiscrete dog whistles are disturbing, perhaps the silence that we hear from elected Republican representatives and senators throughout Pennsylvania is even more disconcerting. Bucks County State Representative K.C. Tomlinson (R-18) falls into this category.

All elected officials in Pennsylvania take an oath of office:

”I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support, obey and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of this Commonwealth and that I will discharge the duties of my office with fidelity.”  – Pennsylvania Constitution, Article VI, Section 3

Nowhere in that oath does it say that an elected official swears allegiance to a political party but that’s exactly what Rep. Tomlinson has done by remaining quiet and refusing to denounce the Big Lie. Honestly, she’s not alone and for reasons described below, it would appear she has taken a page from PA01 Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick’s playbook.

The Big Lie – just like any other kind of a lie – creates a snowball effect; it led to the January 6 insurrection and continues to stoke discord in communities across the nation.

By refusing to affirm or deny the matter, Republicans have become complicit in a charade that provides cover for what the GOP really wants: unconstrained power.

Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick is an excellent example of a politician who has attempted to paint himself as a moderate when, in fact, he has voted along party lines a majority of the time and has refused to deny the Big Lie. Fitzpatrick has become a master at casting “save your seat” votes – including a vote to affirm the right to contraception in an attempt to cloak his anti-abortion stance.

Tomlinson has cast similar votes.

Limit and restrict abortion in the event of specific fetal anomalies: HB1500
Voted Yes: June 08, 2021
Current Status: Passed the House – pending in the PA Senate

Requires a funeral or cremation of abortion remains: HB118
Voted Yes: June 09, 2021
Current Status: Pending in the PA Senate

Ban abortion, change voting laws, change the authority of the lieutenant governor: SB106
Voted No: July 08, 2022
Current Status: Must clear both House and Senate chambers in 2023 to appear as multiple referendum questions on the May, 2023 municipal primary ballot.

So which is it? Tomlinson’s votes on HB1500 and SB106 present a conundrum because by way of HB1500 she’s for preventing some abortions but then she voted against a complete abortion ban – including abortions in the event of specific fetal anomalies – via her SB106 no vote.

To be fair, SB106 contains multiple matters that the PAGOP hopes to pass including: the banning of abortion, significant and restrictive measures to the state’s election code and rewriting the role and authority of the state’s lieutenant governor. A call to Tomlinson’s office to better understand her vote on SB106 was not returned.

Keep in mind that HB1500 was passed on June 08, 2021 – prior to the June 24, 2022 SCOTUS ruling on Dobbs and the SB106 vote occurred on July 08, 2022.

Huge crowds took to the streets following the Dobbs decision to demonstrate the revocation of a woman’s right to choose. Without a doubt, the elimination of reproductive health care is widely unpopular, so much so that even extremist Doug Mastriano, an avid and vocal supporter of the Big Lie and the Republican gubernatorial candidate, has tried to walk back, rhetorically at least, his scorched earth “no exceptions” abortion position.  

SB106, for Tomlinson, was a “save your seat” vote and for the most part, Tomlinson voted the GOP agenda:

Restrict utilities from addressing fossil fuels impacting climate change: HB194
Voted Yes: January 26, 2022
Current Status: Passed the House – pending in the PA Senate

Reduces the number of congressional districts and constituent representation: HB2146
Voted Yes: January 24, 2022
Current Status: Vetoed by the Governor

Decimate the PA Election Code giving complete control to the legislature: HB1300
Voted Yes: June 22, 2021
Current Status: Vetoed by the Governor

Allow gun owners and organizations to legally challenge local gun laws: HB979
Voted Yes: June 08, 2021
Current Status: Vetoed by the Governor

Change the PA Constitution to strip and limit the governor’s emergency powers: SB2
Voted Yes: February 05, 2021
Current Status: Passed via Referendum by 13% of the electorate via a municipal primary

Based on her voting record, K.C. Tomlinson is not a moderate, if moderates even still exist in the Republican Party, and the majority of the time she voted with her fellow Republicans. In the few instances where she voted in dissent and might appear to be a moderate, there was no doubt that the legislation she voted against would still succeed while providing cover for hot button issues such as abortion in an effort to appease voters.

Come November, Democrat Laurie Smith will compete for Tomlinson’s seat.

Pennsylvania’s next election will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 8. If you’re not registered to vote, you may do so online before Oct. 24. To check your registration or to request a vote-by-mail ballot, click here.

*Correction: An earlier version of this article identified Kris Walski as Tomlinson’s Democratic opponent. He was recently replaced on the ballot by Laurie Smith.*

Jenny Stephens

Jenny Stephens

Jenny Stephens is a freelance journalist who has written for a variety of publications, including The Reporter. An avid collector of all things vintage, she resides in Lansdale, PA.

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