NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A flood of emails, phone calls and letters isn’t expected to influence the decisions of Tennessee’s 11 members of the Electoral College when they cast their ballots Monday at the state Capitol.
Donald Trump overwhelmingly carried Tennessee last month, and the state’s Republican electors say they would wholeheartedly cast their ballots for Trump even if state law didn’t require them to support the winner.
Elector Jason Mumpower, chief of staff to state Comptroller Justin Wilson, is no stranger to nominees not getting their way in a formal vote. In 2009, Mumpower was the nominee of the House chamber’s 50 Republican members at the time to become speaker. But one fellow Republican joined with the chamber’s 49 Democrats to have himself elected speaker over Mumpower.
“Especially with my own personal experience, I absolutely cannot ever see a reason why an elector would do anything different,” Mumpower said. “And if they are inclined to, in my opinion, they should resign their position as an elector and allow for another one to be appointed.”
Mumpower said he’s not heard from any fellow electors about any second thoughts about voting for Trump.
The heavy influx of calls and correspondence seeking to sway them not to vote for Trump has taken a toll on electors, some of whom have had to change their email addresses or stop answering their cellphones.
“It’s a little frightening in a way,” said elector Lynne Davis of Murfreesboro. “They know where you live. They’ve called my past work; my work that I’m at now.
“I’m a businesswoman and work a lot of hours,” she said. “So I don’t have time to read all these things.”
Protesters plan to hold demonstrations outside state Capitols across the country Monday, including in Nashville. The group called the December 19 Coalition says it wants to try to persuade electors to drop their support for Trump given the CIA and FBI’s conclusions that Russia interfered in the presidential election with the goal of supporting Trump.
But elector Patricia Allen of Clarksville said the letter writers opposing Trump are “just grasping at straws at this point.”
“The electors here in Tennessee are all people who are on the state executive committee; they have been party chairmen. These are very devoted, active Republicans,” she said.
Elector Drew Daniel of Memphis agreed.
“I’ve gotten over 30,000 emails and some random phone calls that I don’t even answer,” said Daniel, who supported Florida Sen. Marco Rubio in the primary but later swung his support behind Trump.
“I saw in the general election campaign and what Hillary was proposing, that was different from what I believed,” he said. “And Trump fell in line more with my beliefs, even though don’t agree with him on everything. I would rather have him than her.”
Elector Tom Lawless, a Nashville attorney, puts the chances at him changing his vote for Trump at zero.
“Hell will freeze and we will be skating on the lava before I change,” Lawless said. “He won the state and I’ve pledged and gave my word that that’s what I would do. And I won’t break it.”
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