Paul Ryan: Leave Wisconsin’s electoral college rules alone

By Arturo Garcia
Monday, February 4, 2013 10:41 EDT
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While some Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin have mulled over changing the state’s electoral college process to split the electoral vote, former vice-presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) expressed opposition to the idea, even though it would have helped his campaign in the 2012 election.

“I’ve always kind of liked the idea of being targeted as a state,” Ryan told the Wisconsin State Journal last week. “I’d hate to be a flyover state. I’d like to be in the hunt for being a targeted state. I think it’s good for us.”

Earlier this month, Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus called on swing states like Wisconsin to look into splitting their electoral votes proportionally, saying the move would give “more local control” to state lawmakers.

Like most states, Wisconsin operates on a winner-take-all system. But under Priebus’ proposal, based on the model used by Maine and Nebraska, Ryan and running mate Mitt Romney would have salvaged a 5-5 split of the state’s electoral votes with incumbent President Barack Obama in last year’s presidential election. Obama won the state — and its 10 electoral votes — by 7 percentage points.

An analysis by The Nation found that, under a proportional system, the Ryan/Romney ticket would have won the election, getting 280 electoral votes to 258 for Obama.

The Huffington Post reported that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) called the idea “interesting” last month, but did not say whether he would support it.

“I haven’t committed one way or the other to it,” he said at the time. “For me, and I think any other state considering this, you should really look at not just the short-term but the long-term implications. Is it better or worse for the electorate?”

Republican interest in changing electoral college rules was sparked by the gerrymandering bill passed by the Virginia state Senate earlier this month. But that move bill was later struck down by a state Senate committee, and similar efforts in Florida, Ohio and Michigan have also been put aside.

Arturo Garcia
Arturo Garcia
Arturo R. García is the managing editor at Racialicious.com. He is based in San Diego, California and has written for both print and broadcast media, including contributions to GlobalComment.com, The Root and Comment Is Free. Follow him on Twitter at @ABoyNamedArt
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