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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

FL House Speaker Weatherford opposed to GOP Electoral College plans

24

January

Republicans in five states, notably Virginia, have discussed changing the way they award Electoral College votes in presidential races by apportioning them on each congressional district, rather than the state's popular vote. The reason: Republican Mitt Romney would have won the presidency despite losing the popular vote in states where the GOP controls the legislatures: Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Florida.

But Florida, the largest swing state, won't go along with changing the Electoral College if Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford has any say (and he has a major say).

"To me, that's like saying in a football game, 'We should have only three quarters, because we were winning after three quarters and the beat us in the fourth," Weatherford, a Republican, told the Herald/Times. "I don't think we need to change the rules of the game, I think we need to get better."

In Virginia, state Republicans are going with the why-get-better? approach. They're getting a bill ready for a vote that, had it been in effect in November, would have given Obama about 30 percent of the Electoral College votes, even though he won 51 percent of the popular vote in that state.

Obama only won four of the nine Virginia congressional seats because they've been drawn to favor Republicans. But Republican National Chairman Reince Priebus seems to like the idea, telling the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "I think it's something that a lot of states that have been consistently blue that are fully controlled red ought to be looking at."

Not only is Weatherford opposed to the idea, fellow Republican and Florida Senate President Don Gaetz is decidedly cool to it. When asked about changing the way Electoral College votes are apportioned, Gaetz thought the entire system should be scrapped. "I think we should abolish the Electoral College but nobody in Washington has called to ask for my opinion," Gaetz said.

"If James Madison had asked me, and I had been there, I would have said a popular vote is a better way to do it." Gaetz said the electoral college shrinks the presidential campaign to a handful of states as it did in 2012. "The farmer standing in his field in North Dakota should be just as important as the factory worker in Ohio," Gaetz said.

-- with Steve Bousquet

 

[Last modified: Thursday, January 24, 2013 9:14pm]

    

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