The Ticket

Changing state presidential electoral rules not a priority, GOP leaders say

Chris Moody
The Ticket

CHARLOTTE, N.C.—Despite all the discussion of a small movement in the Virginia legislature to change the state's rules to grant presidential electoral votes proportionately based on congressional districts, the effort is not a top concern for members of the Republican National Committee, who met here to re-elect a chairman this week.

Virginia GOP Chairman Pat Mullins said in an interview on Friday that he hadn't yet read the bill, which is set for a vote in a Virginia state Senate committee next week, but that changing the Electoral College rules in Virginia is "not at all" on his list of priorities.

"If the base committee approves it, then we'll all take a look at it and see what we're going to do," Mullins said.

The bill, which has been introduced unsuccessfully 13 times in the past decade, is unlikely to get that far. Virginia state Sen. Ralph Smith, a Republican on the state Senate Privileges and Elections Committee, has voiced opposition to the measure, which means it will likely never make it out of the committee and to a vote on the floor.

Even in the unlikely scenario that the bill makes it through both houses of the Virginia legislature, Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell wouldn't sign it into law, a top aide said.

“The governor does not support this legislation," McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin told Yahoo News. "He believes Virginia’s existing system works just fine as it is. He does not believe there is any need for a change.”

The measure, which scraps the current winner-take-all electoral vote system in favor of assigning electoral votes based on congressional districts, would likely aid Republicans as applied to the current makeup of the Virginia population.

In the 2012 presidential race between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, for example, Obama would have received only four electoral votes instead of the 13 he was granted for winning the Virginia popular vote.

At the RNC meeting, suggestions on changing a state's electoral vote allocation received mixed reviews.

Mississippi Republican committeeman Henry Barbour, who is leading a task force charged with writing a plan to increase Republican chances to win elections, called it a "gimmick."

"States need to be able to decide for themselves, and I respect that. For me, I'm not crazy about it. It seems like a gimmick," Barbour said. "I want to see us win because we have the best ideas, the best message, the best candidate, and they'll get the most votes. I'm not enthralled with that idea, but if that's what somebody in Virginia wants to do, that's their business."

He added a word of caution to anyone thinking of proposing similar bills: "If it looks like we're trying to win by anything other than trying to get the most votes, it's not going to sit well with the American people," he said. "And it will end up unraveling."

Newly re-elected RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, who has no jurisdiction over states' decisions, said he was "intrigued" by the idea, but he would not make it an RNC priority.

"It's a state issue," Priebus said. "It's something that a lot of states are looking at and in some cases they should look at it. ... Personally I'm pretty intrigued by it."

With the exception of Maine and Nebraska, 48 states currently implement winner-take-all rules for presidential elections.


View Comments (882)

Recommended for You

  • World War II airmen fly again in storied B-29

    BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The bomber best known for dropping the atomic bombs on Japan also flew countless other raids. Karnig Thomasian's final mission on a B-29 Superfortress ended in flames when bombs collided and exploded in the air over Burma in 1945.

    Associated Press
  • Man with 'Islamic extremist leanings' attacks NY police

    The man who attacked New York City police officers with a hatchet before being shot dead was reported to have Islamic "extremist leanings" police and a monitoring group said. The man, identified in the US media as Zale Thompson, had posted an array of statements on YouTube and Facebook that…

    AFP
  • Six bodies identified after decades in Oklahoma lake

    By Heide Brandes OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - Oklahoma authorities have formally identified six people whose bodies were found in a western Oklahoma lake in 2013, bringing a resolution to missing persons mysteries that spanned decades, a spokeswoman for the state medical examiner said Thursday. The…

    Reuters
  • Pistorius shoves race, crime and punishment in South Africa's face

    By Ed Cropley PRETORIA (Reuters) - As Oscar Pistorius spent his first day behind bars this week, a suspected child rapist and murderer went on trial at the same Pretoria court in a case that has also provoked fierce debate about crime and punishment in post-apartheid South Africa. Although the two…

    Reuters
  • After 1st Ebola case in NYC, 3 others quarantined

    NEW YORK (AP) — A doctor who became New York City's first Ebola patient was praised for getting treatment immediately upon showing symptoms, and health officials stressed that the nation's most populous city need not fear his wide-ranging travel in the days before his illness began.

    Associated Press
  • Driver attacked after ice cream truck kills boy

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — Neighborhood residents attacked the driver of an ice cream truck after it struck and killed a 7-year-old boy riding a motorized bike in South Los Angeles, authorities said.

    Associated Press
  • Play

    Woman Stabbed to Death in Front Of Children in Dispute Over Parking Space: Family

    A South Los Angeles man and woman were charged with murder Tuesday in the stabbing death of a Whittier woman during a dispute over a parking space, authorities announced on Thursday. Nerissa Knight reports for the KTLA 5 News at 10 on Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014.

    KTLA - Los Angeles
  • Heads roll in Russia as more details emerge of Total crash

    Top Russian airport officials quit on Thursday as more employees were detained over the Moscow plane crash that killed the CEO of French oil giant Total. The driver of the snowplough that collided with Total boss Christophe de Margerie's plane as it was taking off from Moscow's Vnukovo airport late…

    AFP
  • Ebola cases could spur lawsuits _ with big hurdles

    DALLAS (AP) — In a land of lawsuits, this case seems made for litigation: A doctor appears to miss a red flag, an Ebola diagnosis is delayed, and a patient dies. But this is Texas.

    Associated Press
  • Japan warns of increased activity at volcano near nuclear plant

    TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan warned on Friday that a volcano in southern Japan located roughly 64 km (40 miles) from a nuclear plant was showing signs of increased activity that could possibly lead to a small-scale eruption and warned people to stay away from the summit. The warning comes nearly a month…

    Reuters
  • Two dead in murder-suicide at Houston hospital: police say

    HOUSTON (Reuters) - Two health workers died on Wednesday in an apparent murder-suicide at the out-patient pharmacy of a major Houston hospital, police said. A woman who worked at Ben Taub Hospital was shot dead by a male co-worker, who then killed himself. The names of the two have not been…

    Reuters
  • Dancing priests become Internet sensation

    ROME (AP) — A video of a pair of dueling, dancing American priests studying in Rome has gone viral, following in the footsteps of a now-famous Italian nun whose Alicia Keys-esque voice won her a singing contest and a record contract.

    Associated Press
  • Lebanon army nabs beheading suspect in 'terror cell' raid

    Lebanese troops arrested a recruiter for the Islamic State group wanted for the beheading of a captured soldier, in a raid Thursday that netted more suspects and killed three gunmen, the army said. "A military intelligence unit carried out a security operation at dawn in the Dinniyeh area" of…

    AFP
  • Mexico mayor accused of ordering attack on missing students

    Mexico on Wednesday ordered the arrest of the mayor of the city of Iguala, his wife and an aide, charging they masterminded last month's attack that left six students dead and 43 missing. Carrying torches and candles, tens of thousands of people marched through Mexico City and other cities to…

    AFP
  • Play

    Woman fatally stabbed in fight over swap meet parking space

    A 43-year-old mother of two died after being stabbed in a parking lot dispute at a swap meet in Santa Fe Springs on Friday. Two suspects have been arrested for her murder.

    KABC – Los Angeles
  • Paintings in national parks spark probe, furor

    SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A series of colorful, eerie faces painted on rocks in some of the West's most famously picturesque landscapes has sparked an investigation by the National Park Service and a furor online.

    Associated Press
  • Palestinian kills baby at Jerusalem station

    JERUSALEM (AP) — A Palestinian motorist with a history of anti-Israel violence slammed his car into a crowded train station in Jerusalem on Wednesday, killing a three-month-old baby girl and wounding eight people in what police called a terror attack.

    Associated Press