As if reading from the same cue cards, the Rust Belt's Republican governors issued near-simultaneous denials Tuesday that they would seek to implement proposals apportioning their states' electoral votes by congressional district in future presidential elections. For Republican Govs. Rick Snyder of Michigan and Scott Walker of Wisconsin, the dismissals marked distinct contradictions from statements days before that such plans merited consideration.
Snyder said Jan. 23 that the long gap before the next presidential election made this "the best year" to consider the changes and called himself "open minded" regarding the proposed plan. His comments Tuesday were a marked departure from that stance. "[T]he right time to do it is before a Census is taken and before redistricting takes place. I don't think this is an appropriate time for it."
After calling the plan "interesting" and "worth looking at" on Saturday, Walker backtracked Tuesday, saying he doesn't spend time thinking about it and noting it would reduce the attention presidential candidates pay to Wisconsin.
While Gov. John Kasich, R-Ohio, had not publicly taken a stand on the issue, Ohio Democrats worried he would sign a bill if Republicans legislators sent it to his desk. But Kasich and state Republican leaders said Tuesday that changing Ohio's electoral vote format was not on their agenda.
Coming days after Virginia Republicans shot down a similar plan, the Tuesday turnaround by the Midwest's GOP governors -- all of whom have faced contentious early-term fights with progressives -- signals Republicans don't think provoking battles over the issue would be worth the payoff.