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Trump and allies stress Nebraska to vary the way it awards electoral votes


        Former President Donald Trump and his allies have ramped up stress for Nebraska lawmakers to vary the tactic the state divvies out electoral faculty votes, an effort that underscores simply how slender the race for 270 electoral votes might be within the November rematch with President Joe Biden.

        The proposed change would transfer the state to a winner-take-all allocation system from the present system that splits electoral votes between statewide winners and winners of congressional districts. The proposal appeared to have little traction till a final minute push by distinguished Republicans positioned nationwide consideration on the change.

        Conservative activist Charlie Kirk kicked off the trouble on Tuesday, sending a message on social media urging Nebraska Republicans to behave. Hours later, Republican Gov. Jim Pillen voiced help for the change, after not making it a precedence throughout his first 15 months in workplace.

        Trump weighed in himself on Fact Social, saying that he too supported the change.

        “Governor Jim Pillen of Nebraska, a very smart and popular Governor, who has done some really great things, came out today with a very strong letter in support of returning Nebraska’s Electoral Votes to a Winner-Take-All System,” the previous president wrote. “Most Nebraskans have wanted to go back to this system for a very long time, because it’s what 48 other States do – It’s what the Founders intended, and it’s right for Nebraska. Thank you Governor for your Bold leadership. Let’s hope the Senate does the right thing. Nebraskans, respectfully ask your Senators to support this Great Bill!”

        The Nebraska regulation dividing the state’s electoral votes by congressional district has not been a topic of significant dialogue in the course of the legislative session this 12 months and was not a precedence of Pillen till Trump’s allies started mounting a stress marketing campaign on Tuesday.

        The sudden transfer, which caught Nebraska Republicans off guard, comes solely two weeks earlier than the state legislative session is scheduled to finish April 18.

        The speaker of the Legislature, Sen. John Arch, a Republican, appeared to shut the door to performing on the matter this 12 months.

        “In the Nebraska Unicameral, we have a process,” Arch mentioned in an announcement Wednesday. “It includes bill introduction, a committee hearing on every bill and the prioritization of the session’s agenda by the committees and individual members of the Legislature. LB 764 was not prioritized and remains in committee. I’m not able to schedule a bill that is still in committee.”

        It stays an open query whether or not stress – from the governor or the general public – can change his view.

        Lawmakers opened a spirited debate Wednesday night within the State Capitol in Lincoln about whether or not they need to formally think about the winner-take-all measure by attaching it to a different piece of laws, a procedural transfer that would open the door to a possible filibuster from critics.

        “When you realize you can’t win with the current rules, you go back to the drawing board to change the rules so you can win?” mentioned Sen. Jen Day, a Democrat from Omaha.

        Whereas the legislature is technically non-partisan, the political traces turned clear Wednesday evening as the talk stretched on. A number of lawmakers who rose in opposition to the proposal mentioned there was nothing stopping Trump from successful the Omaha district, saying he has the identical alternative to make his case to voters as Biden does.

        “Come take the electoral vote from Omaha,” mentioned Sen. Megan Hunt, an impartial from Omaha. “Come and earn it.”

        Nebraska lawmakers rejected one try Wednesday evening to connect the winner-take-all electoral vote measure to a broader authorities spending and coverage invoice.

        Supporters mentioned they might strive once more on Thursday to connect the Trump-backed proposal to a different unrelated measure.

        Nebraska and Maine are the one two states within the nation that divide their electoral votes by congressional district – an uncommon system that in 2020 allowed Biden to win one vote from Nebraska, a purple state, and Trump to hold one from Maine, a blue state.

        For all of the last-minute bluster, it’s notoriously troublesome to push laws on the eleventh hour in Nebraska’s unicameral legislature, the nation’s solely one-house physique of presidency. A Democratic lawmaker instructed CNN {that a} filibuster can be mounted if Republicans pushed the electoral faculty invoice.

        “Nebraskans want to keep our fair electoral system in place which is why previous attempts by some Republicans over the last 30 years have failed to undo our split electoral votes,” mentioned Nebraska Democratic chair Jane Kleeb on Wednesday. “We are proud of our unique electoral vote system and know all too well the economic benefits it generates with a national focus on our state.”

        There are solely two days left within the session for brand spanking new payments to be launched. The proposal’s sponsor, state Sen. Loren Lippincott, had beforehand urged the required votes weren’t there for his proposal to cross.

        “In essence, for right now, it’s probably stalled in committee,” Lippincolt instructed the Lincoln Journal Star on Tuesday. “I don’t like to report that, but that’s the facts.”

        Republicans have unsuccessfully tried to repeal this regulation earlier than. A present proposal has been caught in committee since 2023, with out enough votes for a full vote, and it was barely mentioned this 12 months till Trump’s allies started pushing for the change this week.

        For weeks, the Biden marketing campaign has had its eye on Omaha and its one electoral vote.

        For all of the discuss of Biden’s blue wall of Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, successful all three may nonetheless depart him wanting 270 electoral votes. The 2020 census modified the map primarily based on reducing populations in Pennsylvania and Michigan, so one in all Nebraska’s three electoral votes may grow to be essential ought to there be a 269-269 tie with Trump.

        This story has been up to date with further developments. 

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