Group's ad slams McConnell for opposing a change to how presidential races are decided

03/06/2012 06:47 AM

(UPDATED WITH ADDITIONAL VIDEO) A national group that wants the popular vote — not the electoral college — to decide presidential races began airing an ad in Kentucky cable markets targeting U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Senate GOP leader.

The 30-second spot paid for by the group Support Popular Vote urges Kentuckians to “send Mitch a message” because McConnell has opposed the concept of moving to a national popular vote system for the presidential race.

The ad is airing in Time Warner markets across Kentucky. cn|2 is a division of Time Warner.

During a December speech to the Heritage Foundation, McConnell called it “dangerous and absurd” because it could result in triggering an expensive recount across all 50 states if the vote tallies are close, according to MSNBC.

The ad began airing Tuesday — just as state Rep. Ruth Ann Palumbo, D-Lexington, was set to testify in front of a state House committee about her bill that would add Kentucky to the list of eight states and Washington, D.C., that would decide the presidential race by total votes, not electoral college votes.

The popular vote system would prevail once states with at least 270 of the 538 electoral votes sign on.

The Support Popular Vote has attracted bipartisan support. Among its co-chairs are McConnell’s former Republican U.S. Senate colleague Fred Thompson and Chet Culver, the former Democratic governor of Iowa.

It is headed up by Tom Golisano, a New York businessman and former owner of the Buffalo Sabres, who visited Kentucky last spring to meet with Palumbo and others, including Gov. Steve Beshear, to drum up support for the effort.

Golisano and proponents of the movement say a popular vote would force presidential candidates to campaign in more states instead of the dozen or so swing states, such as Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida that have been key battlegrounds in recent presidential races.

In addition, the group points to the four presidential races, in which the candidate with the most total votes across the country failed to win because the electoral college math favored the other candidate.

Golisano said during the interview that there could be three different effects of moving to a popular vote on how campaigns would be run:

About Ryan Alessi

Ryan Alessi joined cn|2 in May 2010 as senior managing editor and host of Pure Politics. He is now pursuing an advanced degree in non-fiction writing from Murray State University and is a regular contributor to Pure Politics. Ryan has covered politics for more than 14 years, including seven years as a reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader. Ryan can be reached at purepolitics@twcable.com or @mycn2 on Twitter.

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