Nebraska state lawmakers are facing pressure from Trump to change the electoral vote system

Nebraska state lawmakers are facing pressure of late to change the state's unusual way of awarding electoral votes after former President Donald Trump and his allies came out in support of a pending proposal that would have ended Trump's election. The college could very well increase its chances of prevailing at the national level. Race.

Nebraska is one of only two states that splits its electoral votes between statewide and congressional district winners, which allowed Joe Biden to pick up electoral votes in the red state in 2020 by carrying a swing district in the Omaha area. But Gov. Jim Pilen (R) and Trump on Tuesday backed a proposal to return the state to a winner-take-all system, possibly until the final days of the state legislative session, which ends on April 18.

Nebraska State Senator John Kavanaugh (D), who represents Omaha, said that Democrats are “looking for” and preparing a bill involving “a particular vehicle,” while noting “procedural bars” and a potential filibuster. Preparing to install. ,

sponsor of the proposal Said they don't have votes to overcome the filibuster, but Trump's 11th-hour intervention has raised speculation that Republicans might regroup.

“At the end of the day, the Nebraska Legislature doesn't make laws in response to someone's tweets,” Kavanaugh said. Democrats are “strongly in favor of maintaining the apportionment of the electoral vote,” he said. “It’s part of what makes Nebraska special.”

The bill's sponsor, Nebraska State Senator Lauren Lippincott (R), said in a statement that there are only six “working days” left in the session and two days left before the bill is scheduled for consideration.

“My staff and I are doing everything we can to explore options to get this across the finish line,” Lippincott said. “However, the harsh reality of the 2-day time limit is limiting.”

An electoral vote in Nebraska's 2nd Congressional District has become increasingly important to Democrats as they can no longer rely on the “blue wall” trifecta of Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, placing those states in the Electoral College after recent redistricting. The weight has decreased. Maine is the only other state that does not award all of its electoral votes to the winner of the statewide vote.

The endorsement of Trump's proposal came hours after Charlie Kirk, a key aide, rallied his social media following to pressure Pilen and state lawmakers into moving the legislation forward. Pilen issued a statement of support within hours.

The Trump campaign had looked at the possibility of a late legislative push weeks ago and concluded there were significant hurdles, according to a person familiar with the discussions who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe internal campaign efforts. But Trump decided to push harder for change after watching the governor's statement following an event in Wisconsin on Tuesday night, which appeared to be inspired by Kirk's social media posts.

Nebraska has a unicameral legislature, with 49 lawmakers, called senators, who serve in an officially non-partisan unicameral chamber. While registered Republicans hold the majority, it was not filibuster-proof until Tuesday.

There were 16 Democrats and one independent member from Omaha, Megan Hunt, a former Democrat. Thirty-three votes are needed to break the filibuster, so if all 16 Democrats and Hunt remain together, they could create a firewall against legislation they opposed.

There was an uproar in the legislature on Wednesday when a Democratic member, Mike McDonnell, announced he was moving to the GOP, breaking the Democrats' firewall. but mcdonnell told Politico He will continue to oppose any proposed changes to the electoral-vote system.

McDonnell's change nonetheless boosted GOP hopes for the Trump-backed proposal. U.S. Senator Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.) said in a statement that the timing of the party transition is “a wonderful opportunity to mobilize our Republican majority around a winner-take-all system.”

McDonnell's decision also provided a boost to the Trump campaign. A Trump campaign official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss strategy, said Wednesday that Nebraska Republicans should expect to see “continued efforts and pressure, because Republicans now have a filibuster-proof is the majority”.

Nebraska Democratic Party Chairwoman Jen Klebb said Wednesday morning that Democrats believe it is “unrealistic” to pass a vote at this point, but are We are monitoring the situation closely.

“Charlie Kirk is clearly not an idiot and he sent that tweet for a reason,” Klebb said. “We are alert. We are securing our 17 votes.”

Still, it's not clear that all Republicans want to prioritize the bill, which languished in committee and was considered dead as of Tuesday.

“Up until yesterday, it wasn't discussed at all, and then suddenly it came into discussion, and many of our legislators who are process-oriented will take a skeptical stance,” said Gavin Geiss, executive director of Common Cause Nebraska.

Wendy DeBoer, a Democratic state senator, was more blunt.

“It would literally completely distort all of our rules,” he said. “To try to make all of this happen right now would be incredibly unprecedented.”

Kirk, Founder and CEO of Turning Point USA, Tuesday Morning urged his nearly 3 million followers on Calling Pilen and state lawmakers to urge support for the proposal. Kirk told Nebraskans to “demand our state to stop giving useless power to its political enemies.”

Within hours, Pilen issued a statement saying he was a “strong supporter” of the bill and had been “from the beginning.” He called on Republicans in the legislature to send it to their desks.

Trump immediately responded on his Truth social platform, sharing Pilen's statement and calling it a “very smart letter.” In a longer second post, Trump thanked Pilen for her “courageous leadership” and said he hoped the legislature would “do the right thing,” urging Nebraskans to call their representatives.

Kirk has scheduled a rally in Omaha on Tuesday to push for change.

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