Donald Trump teams up with Nebraska Governor Jim Pillen to plot Electoral College move that could be devastating for Biden in the 2024 election

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Written By Maya Cantina
  • Ex-president and Republican governor voice support for a winner-take-all electoral vote system in Nebraska
  • Nebraska is one of two states that allocates electoral votes between statewide and congressional district winners
  • Biden received one electoral vote from Nebraska in 2020

Former President Donald Trump and Nebraska Republican Governor Jim Pillen are calling for the state to move to a winner-take-all Electoral College vote system which could be a major blow to President Biden’s path to victory in November.

Nebraska has since 1992 been one of two states that allocates electoral votes in a proportional manner that includes dolling out some of the electoral votes by congressional district. The other state being Maine.

While statewide Donald Trump carried Nebraska by nearly 20 points in 2020, Biden was able to flip the second district around Omaha and take its one electoral vote on his path to 306 electoral votes in the last presidential election.

As Trump examines how he can reach the necessary 270 electoral votes to win in November, he has his eyes on that one Nebraska district and wants the state’s more than 30 year old system changed.

The idea to move to a winner-take-all system picked up steam this week after conservative Turning Points USA founder Charlie Kirk posted on X.

‘Suppose Donald Trump flips Arizona, Georgia, and Nevada next fall, as current polls all show him doing. Would he win the presidency? Not quite. In fact, if Trump flips those three states and no others, he loses by exactly ONE electoral vote,’ Kirk wrote. ‘Why? Nebraska.’

Trump campaigning in Nebraska on Tuesday. He praised Nebraska’s Governor Pillen on Tuesday for supporting a winner-take-all electoral vote system

There is a bill, LB 764, that was introduced in the state legislature by conservative Republican state Senator Loren Lippincott in January 2023 that would move the state to a winner-take-all system. But it was referred to a committee more than a year ago and has been there ever since.

On Tuesday, Republican Governor Jim Pillen released a statement saying he supports the bill.

‘I’m a strong supporter of Senator Lippincott’s winner-take-all bill (LB 764) and have been from the start,’ he said. ‘It would bring Nebraska into line with 48 of our fellow states, better reflect the founders’ intent, and ensure our state speaks as one unified voice in presidential elections.’

Pillen called on Republicans in the legislature to pass the bill, saying he would sign it.

Nebraska Governor Jim Pillen speaking at an event in Washington, DC in 2023

Nebraska Governor Jim Pillen speaking at an event in Washington, DC in 2023

Republican Governor Pillen says he supports moving to a winner-take-all electoral vote system

Republican Governor Pillen says he supports moving to a winner-take-all electoral vote system

Nebraska’s legislature is unicameral and officially nonpartisan, but the majority of legislators are registered Republicans. 

Trump praised Pillen for his support of a winner-take-all system on Tuesday, claiming it’s ‘right for Nebraska.’

‘Let’s hope the Senate does the right thing. Nebraskans, respectfully ask your Senators to support this Great Bill,’ he wrote in a social media post.

The Nebraska Republican party is also rallying behind the bill, but state Democrats are skeptical of the effort to move the legislation before the term ends. The Nebraska legislative session ends April 18.

‘Reporting live from the trenches — don’t worry, we aren’t getting rid of our unique electoral system in Nebraska,’ wrote state Senator Megan Hunt, who represents District 8 in Omaha, on X. ‘Legislatively there’s just no time. Nothing to worry about this year.’

Hunt said the effort just shows that Trump has serious concerns that the election is going to come down to one electoral vote and accused him of being willing to ‘cheat and change the rules state-to-state’ to ensure a victory. Hunt called the move pathetic.

The Nebraska Democratic Party chair urged Nebraskans to call their state senators to voice their support for the current system.

‘We are proud of our unique electoral vote system and know all too well the economic benefits it generates with a national focus on our state,’ said chair Jane Kleeb. 

‘Governor Pillen might be influenced by extremist online personality Charlie Kirk, but our party is confident the Nebraska Legislature will continue to protect our fair electoral voting system.’

 If Trump were to flip the three battleground states of Arizona, Georgia and Nevada as Kirk suggested, he would still be just shy of the necessary 270 delegates needed to win the presidency at 268.

Biden lost Nebraska statewide in 2020 but won the state's second district which gave him one electoral vote from the state. He won the presidency with 306 electoral votes in total

Biden lost Nebraska statewide in 2020 but won the state’s second district which gave him one electoral vote from the state. He won the presidency with 306 electoral votes in total

If Biden loses those three states, which he won in 2020, but still clinched the battlegrounds of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, he would have exactly 270 delegates needed to win.

If Nebraska moved to a winner-take-all system under that map, the electoral college would be split between Biden and Trump 269 to 269. When the Electoral College is tied, the decision goes to the House where Republicans currently hold their smallest majority in decades. There each state would get a single vote.

The only other state without a winner-take-all system for its electoral votes in Maine. In 2020, Biden won the state overall, but Trump received one electoral vote from its rural second district. 

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