Levi Guerra declared that she would join a handful of electors seeking to deny Donald Trump the presidency. That makes Guerra at least the second Washington state elector seeking to sway the upcoming Electoral College vote.
OLYMPIA — Standing on the steps of the state Capitol Wednesday, Levi Guerra declared that she would join a handful of Electoral College members seeking to deny Donald Trump the presidency.
Guerra, a 19-year-old from the town of Warden, Grant County, is one of a slate of electors for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, who won Washington state in the November election.
But when the state’s 12 electors meet Dec. 19 to cast their votes in what is usually a symbolic act known as the Electoral College, Guerra said she intends to support a Republican compromise candidate.
“I feel that it is my duty to cast my vote against Trump,” said Guerra. “Instead, I must vote for the person who I believe will be best for my constituents and who has the greatest chance for unifying our country.”
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Guerra is joining with another Democratic elector from Washington, Bret Chiafalo, who is pushing a longshot, anti-Trump movement called Hamilton Electors.
The group seeks to block Trump by encouraging both Democratic and Republican electors in every state to unite behind a yet-to-be determined consensus Republican candidate.
If 37 Republican electors either abstain or vote for a candidate other than Trump, the president-elect would be denied an Electoral College majority, throwing the decision to the U.S. House of Representatives.
Chiafalo, originally a Bernie Sanders supporter, said before the election he might not cast an electoral vote for Clinton.
The Hamilton Electors website says it honors Alexander Hamilton’s vision “that the Electoral College should, when necessary, act as a Constitutional fail-safe against those lacking the qualifications from becoming President.”
Chiafalo cited Trump’s remarks during the campaign disparaging minorities and Muslims, as well as his appointment of former Breitbart News executive Stephen Bannon as a chief strategist, as reasons to keep Trump out of office.
His group is reaching out to other electors to persuade them to vote for a Republican compromise candidate, Chiafalo said.
“Behind the scenes, we have been talking to many Republican electors,” he said.
As far as what Republican would be the alternative to Trump, “We haven’t landed on that,” Chiafalo said. Among the Republicans his group would back are former Secretary of State Colin Powell, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
Presidents are chosen by 538 electors who come from the states. In all but two states, the popular vote winner is supposed to get all of that state’s electors.
A president needs 270 electoral votes to win, and if no candidate clears that bar, the U.S. House of Representatives would pick a president from the top three vote-getters in the Electoral College. Republicans currently control the House, however, and it’s doubtful that they would deny Trump the presidency.
If the current results hold, Trump will have won 306 electoral votes, with Clinton winning 232.
State Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, a member of Trump’s campaign team in Washington, dismissed the effort by Chiafalo and Guerra.
“My view is that they are very, very irrelevant and they represent a very small fringe element of America,” said Ericksen.
Washington state law includes a $1,000 fine for electors who don’t honor the election results.