In a Sunday letter to House Democrats, Pelosi urged them to consider whether the House could be forced to decide who is president when determining where resources should be focused on winning the November seat. This could lead to more concerted efforts by the Democrats to win in states like Montana and Alaska – typically Republican turf, but where Democrats were competitive nationwide. In these states, democratic victories could turn an entire delegation around with a single angry house win.
“The constitution says that a candidate must receive a majority of state delegations to win,” wrote Pelosi. “We have to get that majority of delegations or stop the Republicans.”
Pelosi has also repeatedly raised the issue with her management team over the past few weeks. Other senior House Democrats told POLITICO they had heard of these concerns from colleagues in recent weeks.
“We’re trying to win every seat in America, but there are obviously some places where a congressional district is more important than just getting the member into the US House of Representatives,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) , a constitutional attorney.
Trump has also taken note of the obscure constitutional resolution on a deadlocked electoral college both publicly and privately.
“And I don’t want to end up before the Supreme Court or go back to Congress, although we have an advantage in going back to Congress – does everyone understand?” Trump said at a rally in Pennsylvania on Saturday. “I think it’s 26-22 or so because there is one vote per state, so we actually have an advantage.” Oh, they’ll be thrilled to hear that. “
Privately, Trump has discussed the possibility of the presidential race being thrown into the house as well and raised the issue with GOP lawmakers, according to Republican sources.
According to the constitution, the winner of the presidential election is only officially elected Congress confirms the vote in the electoral college total on January 6, 2021. This vote will take place a few days after the newly elected Congress is sworn in, meaning the total number of delegations will change to reflect the November house race winners.
If neither Biden nor Trump have received the 270 electoral votes required to win, the House’s newly seated delegations will cast votes to determine a winner. States whose delegations achieve a tie are not counted.
But it’s more than a math equation. If the House is asked to resolve an electoral college stalemate, the country will witness one of the toughest exercises of raw power in history. If the Democrats retain control of the house, they could vote against the seat of potential members whose elections remain controversial, even if state officials say otherwise.
An informal whip count has already started. Democrats have a seat lead of a vote or two in seven states where at least one highly competitive house race is expected: Arizona, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, and New Hampshire. Republicans have a similarly weak lead in Florida. The seats in Alaska and Montana are occupied by Republicans, which means that a Democrat would change the delegation’s vote on a presidential list.
The Pennsylvania House delegation is evenly split between the parties, but the Democrats are expected to take seats after a redistribution that undermines some GOP benefits. Michigan is also a wild card, despite the slight Democratic advantage in the composition of the delegation. Amash, an independent who supported Trump’s impeachment, is retiring. His seat is likely to go to a Republican Trump ally who would leave the delegation bogged down.
A Democratic Party strategist said the party apparatus was still primarily geared towards protecting Democrats in vulnerable areas. But the acquisition of government delegations is also on the radar – especially in countries in which the efforts are directed.
“It’s fair to say that this is something people have been thinking about,” said the strategist. “There is a lot of overlap like in Alaska, Montana.”
Sarah Ferris contributed to this report.