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Nebraska Proposal Could Thwart Biden’s Easiest Path To Victory — If Republicans Pass It In Time


A proposed Nebraska bill would cut off one of Biden’s easiest pathways to 270 electoral votes, but Republicans face an uphill battle to get the proposal passed before the looming end of the legislative session.

A proposal known as LB 764 would repeal a 1991 state law that splits the state’s five Electoral College votes based on how each candidate performs in the state’s three congressional districts. The law has twice sent one of Nebraska’s electoral votes to a Democrat presidential candidate thanks to the 2nd District, which contains Omaha. The 2nd District voted for Biden in 2020 and for Obama in 2008.

Nebraska’s split vote could end up being crucial. If Biden were to win Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin but lose Georgia, Nevada, and Arizona, for example, he could still reach 270 — so long as he received one of Nebraska’s electoral votes.

Biden campaign officials have privately spoken with state Democrats about the possibility of the legislation passing, according to Politico.

“When you look at the map, that one electoral vote really matters in combination with other things,” Jim Messina, who helped run Barack Obama’s reelection campaign, told the outlet. “The easiest pathway to victory has always been the three Midwestern states plus Nebraska. They’d have to find something else too.”

The legislative session officially ends April 18 but there are just five working days left in session, and fewer days than that to get the bill before the full legislature, according to Politico.

“My staff and I are doing everything we can to seek options for getting this to the finish line,” State Sen. Loren Lippincott, the bill’s sponsor, said in a statement to Politico, although he called the tight time frame “limiting.”

Sen. John Arch, the speaker of the legislature, said he could not schedule the bill for a vote in the legislature since it’s still in committee, according to CNN.

“In the Nebraska Unicameral, we have a process,” Arch reportedly said. “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.”

On Wednesday night, Republican State Sen. Julie Slama attempted to pass the proposal “as an amendment to the last Government Committee Bill on General File (LB 1300).” The amendment failed, and Slama predicted afterward that the proposal “won’t come up for a vote again” because “there are no vehicles on which it could attach.”

The Nebraska Examiner, however, reported late Wednesday night that Lippincott “said he intends to try again Thursday by amending his proposal into LB 541,” a bill by State Sen. John Lowe that “would make elections for public power boards partisan.” Lowe “said he was willing to work with Lippincott” and Arch indicated he “would schedule the bill if Lowe tells him it is ready and asks him to do so,” according to the Examiner.

Gov. Jim Pillen expressed his support of the legislation in a statement on Tuesday.

“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.”

“I call upon fellow Republicans in the Legislature to pass this bill to my desk so I can sign it into law,” Pollen continued.

Republican Sen. Pete Ricketts appeared hopeful that Republicans would be able to pass the legislation after Mike McDonnell switched party affiliations from Democrat to Republican, creating a Republican filibuster-proof majority.

But McDonnell told Politico in a statement he would not vote to change “the electoral vote structure.”

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