Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune
All but two of Texas’ 38 electors voted Monday to officially put Donald Trump in the White House, with one elector casting a ballot for Ohio Gov. John Kasich and another casting a ballot for a fellow Texan, former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul.
The votes from Texas were the ones that clinched the presidency of the United States for Trump, pushing the real estate mogul past the 270-vote threshold, according to Politico.
Elector Chris Suprun of Dallas had previously announced he would not support Trump. Another elector, Art Sisneros of Dayton, resigned as an elector, also in protest of Trump.
As electors voted, protesters’ chants picked up outside and could be heard from in the House chamber. They appeared to be saying specific electors’ names, followed by, “Save our democracy!”
The vote was unusually closely watched but largely expected: Both Suprun and Sisneros had shared their plans weeks in advance of the meeting. Suprun, however, did not announce until hours before the vote that he would instead vote for Kasich.
At least three other electors resigned Tuesday and skipped the vote, though not for reasons related to Trump. Texas GOP officials said the electors had issues with eligibility requirements under state law.
The remaining 34 electors picked replacements for the four absent electors: Debra Coffey for Shellie Surles, Benona Love for Melissa Kalka, Sherry Clark for Kenneth Clark and Janis Holt for Sisneros. Each replacement won with at least 23 votes.
There was a measure of drama before the vote. A seating chart suggested four electors, including Suprun, may not show up. But with minutes until the vote, Suprun was spotted on the floor of the House chamber.
The vote, usually an afterthought following presidential elections, had been closely watched, especially in Texas. Suprun’s defection had drawn condemnations from the state’s top Republicans, who predicted it may lead to Texas becoming the 30th state where electors are required to vote for the winner of the statewide popular vote.
Hours ahead of Monday’s meeting, anti-Trump protesters began gathering outside the Texas Capitol, carrying signs that read “Trump = Treason” and “Electoral College: Vote Your Conscience.” Several signs also referenced Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“I hope, at the very least, that Trump will recognize we are the majority and that he should be influenced by the people right here and not the people across the ocean,” said protester Ana Rodriguez, who added that she would be happy to see electors support Kasich or Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Speaking with reporters before the vote, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) predicted it would go off without much fanfare. He offered no opinion on Suprun, saying he will have to “defer to the judgment of the appropriate officials.” He also gave no view on whether Texas needs an elector-binding law to prevent cases like Suprun’s, telling reporters he will let state leaders make that decision.
As for the future of the Electoral College, Cornyn brushed off concerns, mostly raised by Democrats after Clinton’s loss, that the system needs reconsideration.
“It’s amazing,” he said “The winners always seem to like it and the losers always seem to not like it very much.”
Even when it came to vice president, not every elector could agree. One cast a vote for Carly Fiorina, one of Trump’s primary rivals.
- The debate over the future of the Democratic Party came to Austin on Saturday, with all five candidates for national party chairman pitching activists on the path forward after a devastating loss in the presidential election.
- President-elect Donald Trump has officially selected former Gov. Rick Perry, a former rival turned loyalist, to lead the Department of Energy.