Imagine a scenario where no candidate gets the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency. Obviously, that would mean something has gone terribly wrong, but it’s possible as the map above shows. Even without a perfect 269-269 tie, faithless electors or a 3rd party candidate winning a state (Utah?) could result in… a Contingent Election in the US House.
Here’s how the 12th Amendment lays out the process (emphasis added):
“...the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice.”
So each state gets 1 vote. You need 26 votes to win. And each state’s vote is decided by its delegation in the US House (Senators don’t count here).
As BJ Rudell points out at The Hill, Republicans currently hold the majority in exactly 26 state delegations. And one of those up for grabs this May in Wisconsin!
“Since Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wisc.) retired three months ago, House Republicans have held a 4-3 seat lead in the state — one of 26 state delegations the party controls….
So if a Republican wins the WI-7 special election in May, the GOP will maintain leads in a majority of state delegations, giving President Donald Trump a definite advantage if no presidential candidate wins 270 electoral votes this year. And if a Democrat wins the Wisconsin seat, that state’s delegation would be evenly split [4-4], giving Republicans control of only 25 states — not enough to select Trump on a party-line vote.”
And we have a really strong candidate to win that seat! Tricia Zunker is President of the Wausau School Board (largest population center in WI-07), a law professor, and a Justice on the Ho-Chunk Nation Supreme Court.
Check out her campaign launch video...
It’s easy to write off northern WI as hopeless Trump-country, but it’s more complicated than that. Yeah, Trump carried WI-07 by 20pts in 2016. But Tammy Baldwin only lost the district by 4pts in 2018, running against a very Trump-y opponent in Leah Vukmir.
Most important of all: The Special Election is on May 12th with nothing else on the ballot.
As Patty Schachtner demonstrated in a 2018 State Senate special election the western part of this very district, conventional wisdom and Cook PVI’s don’t always hold up when turnout gets weird.
It all comes down to the ground game. There are more than enough Democrats in this district (154,000 Baldwin voters!) to come out on top as long as GOP turnout is less-than-presidential.
- She’s an outstanding candidate, and we need more Native voices in Washington
- By evening out WI’s delegation she’d be a bulwark against a 2nd term for Trump
- And even if she loses her race, she’s organizing and energizing Democrats in Wisconsin! You know how important that is.