04/23/2024

Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen (R) has backed a conservative-led effort to award all of the state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who wins statewide.

Though Nebraska has been a Republican stronghold for years, the state’s system, as well as Maine’s, for awarding electoral votes has been at odds with the rest of the country by instead awarding those votes based on the congressional district as opposed to the winner-takes-all statewide popular vote. Theoretically, a presidential candidate could win the state but still lose one electoral vote if their opponent won in a congressional district like Omaha. For example, Barack Obama won a single electoral vote in 2008 and Joe Biden won the same in 2020. Here’s how Natalie Venegas described it in Newsweek:

In all but two states, Maine and Nebraska, electoral votes are winner-take-all as the candidate winning the popular vote normally receives all of that state’s votes. However, Maine and Nebraska use the congressional district method, which allows them to allocate two electoral votes to the state popular vote winner, and then one electoral vote to the popular vote winner in each congressional district.

This allows the congressional swing district in the Omaha metro area a single vote that Democrats have won twice since 1991, in 2008 by Barack Obama and in 2020 by Biden.

While candidates need 270 electoral votes to win, under a scenario where Biden only wins the three northern swing states and the other uncontested blue states, a loss in Nebraska’s 2nd District could result in a 269-269 tie.

In a statement on Tuesday, Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen spoke in favor of legislation that would change how his state awards electoral votes, which was introduced by State Senator Loren Lippincott.

“I am a strong supporter of Senator Lippincott’s winner-take-all bill (LB 764) and have been from the start. It would bring Nebraska into line with 48 of our fellow states, better reflect the founders’ intent, and ensure our state speaks with one unified voice in presidential elections,” he said. “I call upon fellow Republicans in the Legislature to pass this bill to my desk so I can sign it into law.”

With Pillen’s support, the legislation has a strong chance of passing in both the State House and State Senate, going into effect before the November 2024 presidential election.

Donald Trump responded to the Governor’s letter on Truth Social: