Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) will not support a bill that would have reapportioned how his state awards presidential electors, a move that will effectively kill the effort in the state Senate to replace the winner-take-all system currently in place.
“The governor does not support this legislation," McDonnell spokesman J. Tucker Martin said in a statement. "He believes Virginia’s existing system works just fine as it is. He does not believe there is any need for a change.”
If the bill were to have succeeded, presidential candidates would have been awarded electoral votes by how they performed in each of the state's congressional districts, with the winner of the most congressional districts receiving two additional votes. Under such a system, President Obama would have won only four of the state's 13 electoral votes in the 2012 election, despite winning the state 51-47 percent.
While Republicans control the House in Virginia, the Senate is evenly split, and it did not appear that the bill would have had enough votes to pass. Republican state Sens. Jill Vogel and Ralph Smith, both members of the Privileges and Elections Committee, had told The Associated Press they would object to such a plan.
The bill's sponsor, state Sen. Charles W. Carrico, argued those in rural counties were being outnumbered in the presidential vote by more densely populated urban areas.
"The last election, constituents were concerned that it didn’t matter what they did, that more densely populated areas were going to outvote them,” he told The Washington Post.
Some high-level Republicans, including Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, have endorsed the changes to the Electoral College, and efforts are under way in five other swing states (Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan and Florida) where Republicans control the state legislature. Had the rules been shifted changed in each of the six states, Mitt Romney would have narrowly prevailed in the 2012 election despite losing 51-47 percent nationally.