Virginia GOP’s electoral-vote gambit likely doomed

Two Republican state senators in Virginia oppose an attempt to reapportion the state's electoral votes, likely dooming the effort.

The proposed changes would instead apportion electoral votes by congressional district, a setup far more favorable to Republicans. State Sen. Charles W. Carrico Sr. (R-Grayson County) proposed the legislation, arguing that it would give smaller communities a bigger voice.Republican Sen. Jill Vogel told the Associated Press that she would oppose the measure in both the committee and on the floor, should it get that far.  Fellow Republican Sen. Ralph Smith also opposes it. Both serve on the Privileges and Elections Committee, which has eight Republicans and seven Democrats. The state Senate is evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats.

Republicans in Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania are considering similar changes. All three are states that supported President Obama in 2012 but are controlled by Republicans at the state level.

Former Republican National Committee chairman Haley Barbour downplayed the movement in an MSNBC interview Friday, saying that "it's wrong to say there's a big Republican conspiracy to try to change this." He added that personally, he was a "traditionalist" and would not support any such measures.

Rachel Weiner covers local politics for The Washington Post.
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Rachel Weiner · January 25, 2013