- Associated Press - Friday, December 16, 2016

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Longtime Republican stalwart Jim Skaggs was inundated with what he estimated was as many as 50,000 emails from people urging him to defy Kentucky’s election results and back someone other than Donald Trump when Electoral College members make their picks for president.

Other diehard Trump foes called Skaggs at his Bowling Green home. The 78-year-old was polite but firm in his response: he’s sticking with Trump.

“I listened to their story and then told them … I’m going to cast my vote for Donald Trump, and I hope you’ll be an American come Feb. 1, and I want you to enjoy all the fruits of America,” Skaggs said in a recent phone interview.

Kentucky’s eight presidential electors will gather Monday in Kentucky’s Supreme Court chamber in Frankfort to cast their votes. Electors nationwide will do similarly. To be elected president, the winner must get at least half the total plus one - or 270 electoral votes.

Trump won by a landslide in Kentucky in last month’s election. Other Kentucky Republicans prospered from the “Trump tide,” as the GOP won control of the state House for the first time in nearly a century to consolidate its control of the General Assembly.

Another Kentucky elector, Walter Reichert Sr., voted for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in Kentucky’s Republican presidential caucus, but said he’s firmly on board with Trump for the Electoral College balloting.

“The state of Kentucky has got 120 counties; Hillary Clinton carried two,” said the 87-year-old former Republican state lawmaker from Louisville. “Trump carried 118. I’d look pretty silly, wouldn’t I, voting for somebody else.

“I’ve never seen anybody run in this state as a Republican that has run as strong as he has,” he added.

Reichert said he’s liked the way Trump has put together his Cabinet and staff as he prepares to take office in January.

Skaggs voted for Jeb Bush in the state’s presidential caucus, acknowledging that Trump wasn’t his favorite candidate.

“I don’t have to like everything about every Republican,” he said.

He thinks he’s duty-bound to support Trump in the Electoral College.

“I feel like it’s my obligation as an elector in Kentucky, in as much as he convincingly carried Kentucky in the general election,” Skaggs said. “And as a Republican Party member, I feel like that is what I’m absolutely supposed to do.”

Scott Lasley of Bowling Green said he backed John Kasich in the presidential caucus but will vote for Trump as an elector.

“The people of Kentucky spoke pretty resoundingly and that’s who I’m representing at the Electoral College,” the political science professor said.

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