Four states down, and just two remain.
Key Republican officials in Virginia, Ohio, Florida, and Michigan are coming out against a RNC-backed scheme to rig the electoral vote in Democratic-leaning states in order to boost Republican presidential candidates. That leaves just Pennsylvania and Wisconsin as the remaining blue states with Republican statehouses actively considering the idea.
Virginia was the first state to move on the plan in 2013, advancing a bill out of a state Senate subcommittee that would apportion its electoral votes by Congressional district rather than the winner-take-all method used in 48 of the 50 states. Had it been in place the year before, Mitt Romney would have won 9 of the state’s electoral votes to President Obama’s 4 despite losing the state’s popular vote. But after Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) and key Republican lawmakers came out against it, the bill was defeated in committee Tuesday on an 11-4 vote.
Not only does the Virginia bill appear to be dead, the media frenzy surrounding it has forced top Republicans in other states to take a decisive position on similar proposals in their legislatures as well.
In Michigan, Gov. Rick Snyder (R) came out decisively against the idea on Tuesday, a shift from previous statements suggesting he “could go either way” on the issue.
“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 told Bloomberg TV. “I don’t think this is the appropriate time to really look at it.”
The very same day in Ohio, spokesmen for Gov. John Kasich, state Senate president Keith Faber, and state House Speaker William Batchelder, told the Cleveland Plain Dealer they had no plans to pursue an electoral vote bill, with Batchelder actively opposing it. “Nobody in Ohio is advocating this,” Secretary of State John Husted added.
Florida doesn’t appear likely to pass a bill either, given that Republican House Speaker Will Weatherford is opposed to the plan as a panacea for GOP electoral prospects. “I don’t think we need to change the rules of the game, I think we need to get better,” he told the Miami Herald last week.
That leaves Pennsylvania, where Gov. Tom Corbett (R) unsuccessfully backed an electoral vote split in 2011, and Wisconsin, where Governor Scott Walker (R) has expressed interest in tinkering with the electoral vote, as the remaining states whose top Republicans have yet to rule out a bill. But Walker may not be far off from caving.
If those two states come off the table, the Great Electoral College Scheme of 2013 may be a decisive failure.
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.