GOP Governors Withdrawing Support for Proposals to Split Electoral Votes

Wednesday, 30 Jan 2013 12:30 PM

By Lisa Barron

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Three Republican governors have backed away from GOP plans to divide electoral votes in their states by congressional district, a move that party leaders believe would give their candidates a better chance of winning future presidential elections.

According to Politico, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder on Tuesday joined Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and Ohio Gov. John Kasich in rejecting legislation to apportion electors by congressional district rather than on a winner-takes-all basis.

All three states were won by President Barack Obama last year, despite the fact Republicans controlled the governorships and legislatures.

Snyder told Politico the Republican-controlled Michigan legislature should not consider changing the law now because it would come off to the public as move designed to obviously favor one party over the other.

“In a perfect world, if you were going to do it, the time to do it is . . . before the census and before redistricting, and people know how that’s going to work out,” he said.

“Theoretically . . . shouldn’t you do it in a bipartisan fashion, that both parties are looking to say, you know, a year or two before the census being taken, to say, ‘OK, we don’t know how this is going to turn out,'" Snyder said. "'There could be pros or cons, but do we see value in doing it by congressional district versus overall?' That time is not right now.”

In introducing a bill last week to split electoral votes by district, Virginia state Sen. Charles Carrico Sr. said he hoped the legislation would give smaller communities in rural areas the same clout as densely populated urban centers. If his measure had been law last November, Republican nominee Mitt Romney would have won nine of Virginia's 13 electoral votes to carry the state, even though Obama would have still won the popular vote statewide.

Currently, only two states, Nebraska and Maine, award electoral votes on a proportional basis. But three others controlled by Republicans are still considering plans to split their electoral votes. Meanwhile, Republican lawmakers in Virginia and elsewhere are pushing other election-related bills, including tougher voter identification laws.

The measures are all part of the Republican efforts to rebuild the party after heavy losses at the polls in November.

Reince Priebus, re-elected earlier this month as chairman of the RNC, said his mission is to put the GOP on a permanent rather than cyclical political footing and compete in all regions and states, even those dominated by Democrats.

"There is not a state that isn't worth the effort," He told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

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