“Winner-Take-All” has lost again.
As Nebraska Watchdog first reported last month, it appeared State Senator Paul Schumacher of Columbus, a Republican, would be the key swing vote siding with the three Democrats on the Legislature’s Government Committee.
On Wednesday Schumacher delivered.
According to the Committee Chairman, State Senator Bill Avery of Lincoln, by a vote of 4-4 a proposal to scrap Nebraska’s system of split electoral votes died for the year. Avery also says he doubts the bill will pass next year, when the GOP gets one last chance to reshuffle the deck before Election Day 2012.
For now Nebraska continues to join Maine as the only states which are not winner take all in the Electoral College. In Nebraska two of the state’s five electoral votes go to the winner of the statewide popular vote. The other three votes go to the winner of the popular vote in each of the state’s three congressional districts.
In 2008, President Obama won Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District, which includes Omaha. The victory left Obama with one electoral vote from Nebraska; Republican John McCain got the other four.
The fight over the ’08 Omaha vote found the Obama campaign pumping money and manpower into the 2nd District; two items Democrats will presumably need in 2012 to hold onto Ben Nelson’s Senate seat and to take another run at Republican Congressman Lee Terry.
Given those stakes the Nebraska GOP tried to put the fear of re-election into the Legislature’s Republican lawmakers. GOP Chairman Mark Fahleson announced earlier this year that “failure to support (winner take all) could affect Republican Party endorsements and support in future races.”
But when it came to Schumacher the move backfired. Schumacher first told Nebraska Watchdog, “The idea of a political party having a litmus test on a vote bothers me.”
So despite holding a wide 34-15 lead over Democrats in the Legislature, the GOP has come up short.
Reported by Joe Jordan, email@example.com
Editor’s note: to subscribe to News Updates from Nebraska Watchdog at no cost, click here