- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 19, 2000

The Electoral College put the coda on a historic election yesterday, confirming that Texas Gov. George W. Bush will become the nation's 43rd president.
This time, there will be no recount.
Mr. Bush held all of his pledged electors and prevailed 271-266 in the tightest electoral tally since 1876, when Republican Rutherford B. Hayes won by a single ballot.
One Gore elector, Barbara Lett Simmons from the District of Columbia, left her ballot blank to protest the city's lack of representation in Congress.
"We are pleased that the Bush-Cheney slate of electors faithfully cast their votes on behalf of his presidency," Bush spokesman Dan Bartlett said.
"We obviously kept an eye on things, but we felt confident that it was a strong, loyal slate," he said.
Mr. Bush's slim margin, following five weeks of political uncertainty and legal wrangling, added suspense to normally perfunctory ceremonies in the nation's 50 state capitals and the District.
A switch by four Bush electors would have swung the election to Vice President Al Gore. Instead, Nevada's four electors put Mr. Bush over the top yesterday afternoon.
The votes came as the president-elect met in Washington with Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, with Democratic and Republican leaders on Capitol Hill and with potential members of his Cabinet.
Mr. Bush won the presidency with one electoral vote to spare. To win, a candidate needs 270 a majority of the nation's 538 electoral votes.
Electoral votes are based on a state's population and its congressional representation. Virginia, with 11 House members and two senators, has 13 electoral votes. Maryland, with eight representatives and two senators, has 10 electoral votes.
In Tallahassee, Fla., the epicenter of the 36-day election dispute, Florida Senate President John M. McKay announced at 12:10 p.m. that the state's 25 electors had cast their votes for the Texas governor.
"Thank you for your attendance and cooperation in fulfilling this awesome duty," Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, younger brother of the president-elect, told the state's electors.
The Florida governor later called the experience "surreal."
Mr. Bush became the first candidate since Benjamin Harrison in 1888 to lose the popular vote and win the presidency.
Democrats upset about the outcome had besieged Bush electors with thousands of e-mails, letters and phone calls, seeking switches to Mr. Gore. Two California college students who believe the popular-vote winner should become president sparked an Internet campaign.
The Bush campaign worked to keep its voters in line. Last week, Vice President-elect Richard B. Cheney gave Bush electors a pep talk during a conference call.
"The Republicans are nervous," Howard Lamb, a Bush elector from Nebraska, told the Associated Press.
"They're even going to bring us in the day before, put us up in [a] hotel and feed us dinner."
Colorado Gov. Bill Owens took nothing for granted yesterday.
"Your guy is B-U-S-H. Push it all the way through," he said as Colorado's eight electors cast their votes.
But the electoral vote matched the popular vote tallies in the states. Mr. Gore lost his home state of Tennessee by 80,000 votes. The state's 11 electors cast their votes for Mr. Bush in a swift 20-minute ceremony.
"Al Gore the congressman, Al Gore the senator campaigned and voted in a particular way that was acceptable and exciting to Tennesseans and they were for him," said Tennessee Gov. Don Sundquist, a Republican.
"He changed his views as a national candidate and therefore lost a number of people."
Mr. Gore had disavowed the search for so-called "faithless electors" in his concession speech last week.
"I accept the finality of this outcome, which will be ratified next Monday in the Electoral College," Mr. Gore said.
In Connecticut yesterday, Mr. Gore's running mate, Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, discouraged switches by faithless electors.
"Al Gore and I don't expect any surprises. We've certainly renounced any effort to change any electoral votes," Mr. Lieberman said.
Electors usually vote for the candidate of their party. But there have been exceptions.
In 1988, Margaret Leach, a Michael Dukakis elector from West Virginia, voted for the Democrat's running mate, Sen. Lloyd Bentsen of Texas.
And in 1976, Mike Padden, a Washington state elector for President Gerald R. Ford, cast his ballot for Ronald Reagan.
Today, Mr. Bush will meet with his defeated rival at the vice president's official residence on the grounds of the Naval Observatory.
On Jan. 5, Mr. Gore, as president of the Senate, will preside over a joint session of Congress and announce Mr. Bush's victory.
It is a scenario that last occurred Jan. 6, 1961, when Vice President Richard Nixon confirmed his election defeat to Sen. John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts.
"This is the first time in 100 years that a candidate for the presidency announced the result of an election in which he was defeated and announced the victory of his opponent," Mr. Nixon said.
"I now declare that John F. Kennedy has been elected president of the United States and Lyndon B. Johnson vice president of the United States."

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