Friday, December 16, 2016

GOP: Electoral College voters will back Trump

Republican state party chairmen and local officials expect nearly every GOP elector to fulfill their pledges to vote for Donald Trump for president on Monday when delegates gather across the country to cast their Electoral College ballots.

Despite a media frenzy around the scattered groups of liberals suggesting a groundswell of Republican opposition to Trump, there is little evidence to suggest that many GOP voters will go against the popular vote in their home states.
An Associated Press poll of more than 330 electors published Thursday found similarly long odds for any Electoral College revolt, with both Democrats and Republicans convinced Trump will clinch the vote Monday.

The Hill reached state party chairmen or officials for 10 of the 30 states Trump won in November, accounting for 170 of the 270 electoral votes he needs to win.

The officials in those states, most of whom said they are in close contact with their full slate of delegates and are working in tandem with the Republican National Committee’s whip operation, promised to deliver 169 of the 170 electoral votes up for grabs.

“We’re certain about how our electors will vote,” Florida GOP chairman Blaise Ingoglia told The Hill. “There is a better chance of Hillary Clinton telling the truth about something than any of our 29 electoral votes going for anyone other than Donald Trump.”

The lone exception is a rebel elector in Texas, who has written an op-ed in the New York Times and said in media interviews that he will not vote for Trump.

Two others have said they will resign in protest. They are likely to be replaced by electors the party is certain will vote for Trump.

A liberal group responsible for fomenting the Electoral College rebellion claims to have at least 20 of the 37 GOP defectors needed to pull an upset and send the election to the House.

Among Republicans on the ground, though, there is no chatter or speculation surrounding that possibility.

State chairmen and party officials say that the bulk of their conversations with the electors pertain to the logistics of Monday’s vote — when and where the electors are expected to show up — rather than a furious lobbying campaign to ensure their support for Trump.

“We have been in contact with all of North Carolina's electors, and as far as they have told us, they are all very excited and confident in their vote for Donald Trump,” North Carolina GOP spokeswoman Emily Weeks told The Hill.

“Most of the questions and concerns have been about event rehearsal prep and just making sure everyone has their ducks in a row.”

That shouldn’t be a surprise, as delegates to the Electoral College have never in history launched a meaningful challenge to the outcome of a presidential election.

There is more froth than usual around that possibility this year because of Trump’s polarizing campaign and surprise victory over Clinton.

The liberal opposition has generated a cottage industry of online speculation that an Electoral College revolt is a real possibility.

But state party leaders familiar with the thinking of their electors dismiss the speculation as fantasy.

In South Carolina, GOP chairman Matt Moore said he attended a Christmas party with all nine of his state’s electors this week.

“I saw every single one last night, and I’m absolutely confident,” Moore said.

In Arizona, chairman Robert Graham said he’s held a roundtable meeting with his 11 electors and stays in touch through private discussions, much of which is focused on the deluge of angry correspondence and threats they’ve received.

“We’re getting hundreds of thousands of emails, but as it stands, every one of our members signed a pledge to support the nominee before this brouhaha,” Graham said. “Nothing has changed. All 11 will be delivered.”

In Texas — the lone state with a public defector — the state party has not been in contact with the electors.
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