Posted Nov. 12, 2008 – The latest Election Day contest to be decided delivered one of the small prizes for President-elect Barack Obama. He can now lay claim to the one electoral vote afforded the winner of the popular vote in Nebraska's 2nd Congressional District, reports The Associated Press.
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Since Obama already had been declared the winner of 364 electoral votes – 74 more than needed for victory over Republican opponent John McCain – the added vote from the Omaha area is tantamount to kicking an extra point in a football game in which your team already has a big lead. It is symbolic of the wins Obama made over the performances of the Democratic presidential nominees who lost to George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004, and also of the Illinois senator's success at expanding the playing field in the campaign for an electoral vote majority.
Nebraska is one of just two states that does not automatically award all of its electoral votes to the statewide winner. The Midwest state and Maine give two votes to the statewide winner, and one vote apiece to the winner in each of the state's congressional districts. Obama's win for one of Nebraska's five electoral votes, however, marks the first time there has been a split decision. It was the result of Obama's strategy of campaigning heavily in places his campaign viewed as winnable, even though many had been Republican presidential strongholds for years.
Along with Nebraska's 2nd District – which favored Bush over Democrat John Kerry with 61 percent of its votes in 2004 – Obama has been confirmed the winner in nine states that went Republican four years ago: Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia. And the contest in one more 2004 Bush state, Missouri, remains too close to call, although McCain holds a razor-thin lead in the current vote count.
McCain, who currently totals 162 electoral votes from 21 states that he won, would increase to 173 with a win in Missouri. If the final count flips Missouri Democratic, Obama — who already has claimed 28 states plus the District of Columbia — would round out to 376 electoral votes.