Nebraska state lawmakers are facing a Trump-led push to change the electoral vote system

Nebraska state lawmakers are facing delays in changing the unorthodox system of awarding electoral votes after former President Donald Trump and his allies came out in favor of a moribund plan. race

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

Nebraska State Senate representing Omaha. John Cavanaugh (D) said Democrats are “on the lookout” and preparing for a bill attached to “any particular vehicle” while preparing to install “practice straps” and possible filibusters. .

Sponsor of the proposal He said that there are no votes to overcome the filibuster, but Trump's 11th-hour intervention has raised speculation that Republicans could regroup.

“Ultimately the Nebraska Legislature will not pass legislation in response to anyone's tweets,” Cavanaugh said. Democrats ‚Äústrongly support preserving electoral division. It's part of what makes Nebraska special.

The situation at the Nebraska Capitol in Lincoln was fluid Wednesday. Later in the afternoon, GOP state Sen. Julie Slama said she would amend another bill scheduled for floor debate to include a winner-take-all proposal.

“Given the recent interest in the issue, it is incumbent upon the NE Assembly to finally hold a full referendum,” Slama said Said in X. “Whether it passes or fails, we will sign everyone up.”

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One group focused on civic engagement in Nebraska, Civic Nebraska. He promised to organize a November referendum effort If the Legislature “yields to this last-minute pressure of foreign interests.”

Republicans admit they have very little time to get a stand-alone plan to the governor's desk. The bill's sponsor is the Nebraska State Senate. Loren Lippincott (R), in a statement, noted that there are two days left to schedule the bills for floor consideration.

“My staff and I are doing everything we can to find options to get this over the finish line,” Lippincott said. “However, the harsh reality of the two-day deadline is limiting.”

Assembly Speaker John Arch (R) said in a statement that the bill “has not been prioritized and remains in committee.”

“I can't schedule one more bill in committee,” he said.

An electoral vote in Nebraska's 2nd Congressional District has become more important for Democrats because they can't rely on the “blue wall” trifecta of Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Maine is the only state that does not award all of its electoral votes to the winner of the statewide vote.

Trump endorsed the proposal hours after a key ally, Charlie Kirk, mobilized his massive social media presence to pressure Billon and state lawmakers to advance the legislation. Billan issued a statement of support within hours.

The Trump campaign explored the possibility of a delayed legislative push a few 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 after an event in Wisconsin on Tuesday night, Trump decided to push hard for a change after seeing the governor's statement, which appeared to be spurred by Kirk's social media posts.

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Nebraska has a unicameral legislature with 49 legislators, referred to as senators, serving in an officially nonpartisan chamber. Although registered Republicans hold a majority, it was not filibuster-proof until Tuesday.

16 Democrats and one independent from Omaha, Megan Hunt, formerly a Democrat. Thirty-three votes are needed to break a filibuster, so if the 16 Democrats and Hunt stick together, they could build a firewall against the legislation they oppose.

The Legislature saw a shakeup Wednesday when Democrat Mike McDonnell broke through the Democratic Party firewall and announced he was switching to the GOP. But McDonnell told Politico He will continue to oppose proposed changes to the electoral-voting system.

Despite McDonnell's switch, the GOP held out hope for a Trump-backed proposal. US Senate. Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.) said in a statement that the timing of the party switch is “a wonderful opportunity to rally our Republican majority to a winning system.”

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

Nebraska Democratic Party Chairwoman Jane Gleib said Wednesday morning that she believes it is “unrealistic” at this point for Democrats to pass a referendum. Monitoring the situation closely.

“Charlie Kirk obviously wasn't an idiot and sent that tweet for a reason,” Gleip said. “We're on the defensive. We're getting our 17 votes.

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

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“Until yesterday, this was not a debate, and then all of a sudden it exploded, and many of our process-oriented legislators would take a skeptical position,” said Gavin Keyes, executive director of Common Cause Nebraska.

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

“It would actually completely subvert all of our rules,” he said. “Trying to do all of this now is incredibly unprecedented.”

Kirk, founder and CEO of Turning Point USA, on Tuesday morning urged his nearly 3 million followers on X Call Billen and state legislators to urge support for the plan. Kirk urged Nebraskans to “stop their government from giving their political opponents senseless power.”

Hours later, Billon released 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 his desk.

Trump quickly responded on his Truth Community site, sharing Billen's statement and calling it a “very intelligent letter.” In a longer second post, Trump thanked Billen for his “courageous leadership” and said he hoped the Legislature would “do the right thing,” urging Nebraskans to call their representatives.

Kirk plans to hold a rally in Omaha on Tuesday to push for change.

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