It looks like the Republican plans to change the way electoral votes are assigned in swing states may be dead in the water. This afternoon, a Virginia Senate committee voted to kill the state’s proposed bill and Republicans in Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin are expressing serious doubts about similar bills in their states.
The measure appeared headed for defeat after Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) came out against it Friday, as did two GOP senators who sit on the committee that would decide the bill’s fate.
Earlier Tuesday, McDonnell said during a televised interview that he was “afraid people will ignore Virginia” if the commonwealth switched to an electoral college system that picked winners by congressional district.
The governor told MSNBC’s Chuck Todd that the winner-take-all system most states use is the way to go, and that splitting up electoral votes by congressional districts is a “bad idea.”
In Michigan, Gov. Rick Snyder isn’t bullish on the proposed changes.
In another blow to the push to replace the winner-take-all method for awarding electoral votes, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder said he is “very skeptical” of a Republican proposal in his state to adopt the congressional district system for allocating the votes.
“You don’t want to change the playing field so it’s an unfair advantage to someone, and in a lot of ways we want to make sure we’re reflecting the vote of the people, and this could challenge that,” Snyder, a Republican, said today on Bloomberg Television’s “Bottom Line.”
“I don’t think this is the appropriate time to really look at it,” he said.
Republican Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville is wary of a proposal to split up Michigan’s Electoral College votes by district, suggesting that such a move could diminish the state’s importance in presidential elections.
“I don’t know that it’s broken, so I don’t know if I want to fix it,” Richardville said Tuesday, becoming the first high-ranking Michigan Republican to question a bill that state Rep. Pete Lund is poised to reintroduce in the House.
“We’ll take a look at it,” Richardville said. “I’ve heard these things before, all or nothing versus splitting it up. I want to make sure that Michigan’s voice is a loud and clear voice, so I’d be a little concerned if we ended up splitting the difference.”
Other Michigan elected officials noted that presidential candidates would be less likely to campaign in the state if they knew they could win only a small number of votes in favorable districts.
In Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker says the plan is “risky.”
Walker said Tuesday it’s an interesting idea, but not one he spends time thinking about. He says because Wisconsin is a battleground state, presidential and vice presidential candidates have an incentive to make repeated campaign stops here. He says he’s wary that changing the system could dissuade candidates from visiting.
Finally, in Ohio, several GOP leaders, including Secretary of State Jon Husted, oppose the plan.
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Count Ohio’s Republican leaders out of a GOP-backed effort to end the Electoral College’s winner-take-all format in the Buckeye State and other presidential battlegrounds.
Spokesmen for Gov. John Kasich, State Senate President Keith Faber and House Speaker William G. Batchelder told The Plain Dealer this week that they are not pursuing plans to award electoral votes proportionally by congressional district.
Batchelder went a step further, saying through his communications director that he “is not supportive of such a move.” And Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted, the state’s chief elections administrator, emphasized that he does not favor the plan either, despite Democratic suspicions based on reported comments that he said were taken out of context.
“Nobody in Ohio is advocating this,” Husted said in a telephone interview.
That just leaves Pennsylvania and perhaps Florida. Would those states want to discourage candidates from coming in to campaign?
It certainly looks as if the GOP electoral vote-rigging scheme is a loser.