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Progressive advocacy group MoveOn.org is urging 2020 presidential candidates to skip a pro-Israel lobby group’s conference in Washington next week.

The three-day conference will be headlined by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Vice President Mike Pence, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Secretary of State Mike Popeo and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

In a news release, the group says 74 percent of its members agree or strongly agree that “any progressive vying to be the Democratic nominee for President should skip the AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) conference."

ILHAN OMAR’S AIPAC TWEET SPARKS CONDEMNATION, INCLUDING FROM CHELSEA CLINTON

“This survey is less of a formal vote and more of a gut check on what MoveOn members think,” said Iram Ali, MoveOn’s campaign director.

"It’s time for progressives to recognize where their base stands –– which means upholding progressive principles on domestic AND foreign policy," MoveOn tweeted Wednesday, followed by "Skip #AIPAC2019."

MoveOn referenced AIPAC’s spending of tens of millions of dollars in 2015 to defeat the Iran nuclear deal negotiated by former President Barack Obama and that it peddles “anti-Muslim and anti-Arab rhetoric while giving platforms to Islamophobes.”

“It’s no secret that AIPAC has worked to hinder diplomatic efforts like the Iran deal, is undermining Palestinian self-determination, and inviting figures actively involved in human rights violations to its stage,” Ali said.

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AIPAC did not respond to Fox News’ request for comment early Thursday.

The lobbying group has been at the center of comments made by Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., who apologized for implying it pays members of Congress to support Israel.

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Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat who’s seeking his party’s 2020 presidential nomination, had an awkward moment during a televised town hall Wednesday night when he was asked about the time he took his mother to see the notorious 1972 pornographic film "Deep Throat."

The unusual story is highlighted in an excerpt from Hickenlooper’s 2016 memoir, "The Opposite of Woe: My Life in Beer and Politics." CNN anchor Dana Bash asked the candidate to share the tale.

DEM PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFUL HICKENLOOPER CLAIMS CREDIT HE DOESN’T DESERVE

“You have the floor, sir,” Bash jokingly said to the embarrassed candidate.

“Thank you so much for that question,” Hickenlooper sarcastically responded.

Hickenlooper began describing how lonely his mother became after he went off to college because his father had passed away during his childhood. One night he came home from college to a feast of a dinner — the same night he had promised a friend he’d go see a movie with him.

The Democrat then recalled asking his mother if she wanted to join them, which he admitted was a “mistake.”

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“I didn’t know what an X-movie was," Hickenlooper said. "We thought it was a little naughty, but we didn’t think it was that bad. You have to understand, I was eighteen years old.

"I didn’t know what an X-movie was. We thought it was a little naughty, but we didn’t think it was that bad."

— Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper

“So I took my mother to see ‘Deep Throat,’” Hickenlooper revealed to a big roar from the audience. “But I will tell you: I’m sure my mother was mortified, and I said repeatedly, ‘I think we should leave, I think we should go,” and my mother was the type of person that rarely went to a movie. … Once she paid, she was going to stay. And at the end, she knew that I was humiliated. And so we drove home… ‘I asked her, ‘Well that was some experience.’ And she goes, she says, ‘Well, I thought the lighting was very good in the movie.’”

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Democratic former Sen. Mike Gravel of Alaska, 88, is considering a run for president — and some fans say they’re doing what they can to boost his Twitter cred.

On Tuesday night, tweets appeared in his name referencing the 2020 race and his call to push the Democrats further to the left.

First was the tweet: “#Gravel2020.”

Then the next: “I am considering running in the 2020 Democratic primary,” the announcement read. “The goal will not be to win, but to bring a critique of American imperialism to the Democratic debate stage. The website (mikegravel.org) is under construction. Official announcement will be in the coming days.”

Later, in a bid to go viral, “Folks, let’s try to get this baby trending #GRAVEL2020 #GRAVEL2020 #GRAVEL2020”

Gravel has not run for president since 2008, and he hasn’t been a senator since 1981.

CORY BOOKER CONFIRMS HE’S DATING ROSARIO DAWSON: ‘I’M VERY HAPPY ABOUT IT’

Henry Williams, who helped take over the account, told Fox News via email: “The account is real, the senator supports it, it is run by young staffers including myself (I am a student at Columbia University), and we are hugely proud of the massive rise in following it has received in the past 24 hours.”

Henry Williams, 18, helped take over the account of former Democratic U.S. Sen. Mike Gravel of Alaska, 88, to consider a run for president. (Henry Williams)

Henry Williams, 18, helped take over the account of former Democratic U.S. Sen. Mike Gravel of Alaska, 88, to consider a run for president. (Henry Williams)

The 18-year-old who is studying physics, computer science and philosophy, but undecided on a major, said the Twitter account grew from around 3,000 followers to almost 21,000 followers within 24 hours with no promoted posts at all.

The kids liked his message from the past, albeit in the margins, and felt it was time to push him to the center.

Williams added: “I did this because I’m disturbed with our politics and think that the Democratic Party needs a voice on the left shifting the dialogue around democracy, justice, and American interventionism. Gravel is a brilliant man with strong convictions who has spent decades crusading for a just society, a truly democratic system, and an end to endless wars.”

They feel his foreign policy views truly challenge the American plutocracy.

The pinned tweet reads: “This is a campaign to remake the Democratic Party, expand the Overton Window, and push other candidates leftward. And for that, we need your donations to qualify for the debates. Not right now, but SOON. So please follow + please get everyone you know to follow. #GravelGang”

Williams said: “After contacting him and getting to know him, he got behind an exploratory committee and gave us the reins to use his social media presence to present his positions and convictions in a way the Internet would respond to. I’m hopeful that his candidacy can push the conversation in the Democratic Party to the left and force other candidates to face harsh criticism for their records and positions.”

An exploratory committee, as Politico reported, already has been formed — a statement of organization was filed to the Federal Election Commission on Tuesday.

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Williams told Rolling Stone that he and the other creators are planning on taking a trip to California to meet with Gravel.

In the meanwhile, Gravel will tweet through his young fans to his thousands of followers.

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Christopher Scalia, the son of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, told Fox News Wednesday that the idea of increasing the number of justices on the high court is "maybe an argument worth taking seriously," but added that some proposals by Democratic candidates were "just unconstitutional."

Scalia took particular issue with an idea advanced by South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg in which the Supreme Court would have 15 members, five of whom would "only be seated by unanimous agreement of the other 10," as Buttigieg told "Fox News Sunday."

"The problem with that," Scalia told "Your World with Neil Cavuto" Wednesday, "is, obviously Section 2, Article II of the Constitution makes very clear that the president has the power and authority to nominate and, with the advice and consent of the Senate, to appoint Supreme Court justices. So, I mean, I don’t know what … these candidates are talking about, but they certainly can’t have justices appoint their colleagues. So, that would require an [constitutional] amendment that I just don’t think has a snowball’s chance anywhere of being ratified."

Buttigieg is not the only Democratic candidate who has raised the prospect of overhauling the Supreme Court if they win the White House. Other 2020 contenders, including Sens.Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and Kirsten Gillibrand have mused about adding seats to the court or, in Booker’s case, implementing term limits on what has traditionally been a lifetime appointment.

CLARENCE THOMAS MAKES RARE INTERVENTION DURING SUPREME COURT ARGUMENTS

Scalia said the proposals echo Franklin D. Roosevelt’s "court-packing" scheme from the 1930s, which the 32nd president eventually abandoned.

Despite that, Scalia argued that FDR’s proposal "did have an effect. It kind of intimidated a Supreme Court – or so, kind of the conventional wisdom goes – into being more amenable to what he was trying to do with the New Deal.

"So, he didn’t get more justices, but he did get a lot of what he wanted done, done," he added. "And it’s possible that the Democrats, just by raising this threat of packing the court are trying to do something similar."

The Constitution does not enshrine a set number of Supreme Court justices; that is up to Congress. The number of justices has been set at nine since 1869, but the tally has been as low and six and as high as ten.

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Scalia said that the latest proposals by Democrats are the latest step in a political war over the judiciary that has lasted for nearly two decades.

"This goes back to the early 2000s when Democrats filibustered a lot of President Bush’s nominees and Republicans responded in kind by filibustering a lot of Obama’s nominees, and so the Democrats responded by ending the filibuster for lower court nominees, and then Republicans when the Democrats filibustered [Neil] Gorsuch, Republicans got rid of the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees," he said. "It goes on and on. So, if the Democrats try to do this, try to pack the court, I don’t know why they’re under the impression that the next time they have the Senate and the next time they have the president, Republicans will never be in power again because they’re on the right side of history and history will finally meet its ultimate end."

Fox News’ Bill Mears contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

Beto O’Rourke didn’t eat crow, humble pie or even his words after losing to Ted Cruz. He ate dirt instead.

O’Rourke, who came up short in his bid to unseat Sen. Cruz, R-Texas, despite raising $80 million for the Senate push, told the story of his earthy snack in a sprawling 3,000-word profile published by The Washington Post.

“In January, Beto hit the road, much as his father had done before him, and drew energy from the people he met, and — on one stop in New Mexico he didn’t write about in his blog — by eating New Mexican dirt said to have regenerative powers,” the profile reads.

“He brought some home for the family to eat, too.”

WHERE BETO O’ROURKE STANDS IN THE LATEST 2020 POLL

Former Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke gestures during a campaign stop at Keene State College in Keene, N.H., Tuesday, March 19, 2019. O'Rourke announced last week that he'll seek the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke gestures during a campaign stop at Keene State College in Keene, N.H., Tuesday, March 19, 2019. O’Rourke announced last week that he’ll seek the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

The profile was published as O’Rourke joined other Democrats in signaling his support for a range of controversial ideas, including abolishing the Electoral College.

“I think there’s a lot to that. Because you had an election in 2016 where the loser got 3 million more votes than the victor,” O’Rourke said in a video posted online on Tuesday.

“It puts some states out of play altogether, they don’t feel like their votes really count.

“If we really want everyone to vote, to give them every reason to vote, we have to make sure their votes count and go to the candidate of their choosing. So I think there’s a lot of wisdom in that.”

BETO O’ROURKE SAYS HE NEVER TOOK LSD, PROMISES TO STOP USING PROFANITIES

O’Rourke’s comments came one day after Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., pushed a similar proposal.

“Every vote matters and the way we can make that happen is that we can have national voting, and that means get rid of the Electoral College,” Warren told an audience at the historically black Jackson State University in Mississippi.

YOUNG BETO O’ROURKE WROTE ‘MURDER FANTASY’ ABOUT RUNNING OVER CHILDREN, WAS PART OF FAMED HACKING GROUP: REPORT

O’Rourke, whose entry into the 2020 presidential race last week was accompanied by immense media fanfare, is already rolling in campaign cash.

The 46-year-old reported raising a whopping $6.1 million online in the first 24 hours after his announcement, marking a new record for the 2020 Democratic primary race.

“In just 24 hours, Americans across this country came together to prove that it is possible to run a true grassroots campaign for president — a campaign by all of us for all of us that answers not to the PACs, corporations and special interests but to the people,” O’Rourke, a former Texas congressman who lost last year’s Senate race to Republican Ted Cruz, said in a statement.

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The previous record this year was set by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., whose campaign posted a $5.9 million haul in the first 24 hours after his 2020 launch.

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Elizabeth Warren wants to get rid of the Electoral College.

She is billing this as a step toward reform.

"Every vote matters," the U.S. senator from Massachusetts told CNN, "and the way we can make that happen is that we can have national voting, and that means get rid of the Electoral College."

She argued that presidential nominees no longer campaign in places like California and Massachusetts because they’re not swing states, instead focusing on battlegrounds that are up for grabs.

That’s true, but if you abolished the college tomorrow, candidates would camp out in such megastates as New York, California, Florida, and Texas in an effort to run up their popular vote totals. The college forces them to move around the country, especially to smaller states whose handful of electoral votes could tip the balance.

I have mixed feelings about the Electoral College, which has been debated seemingly forever. It does seem like a relic of the 18th century. It has a musty, anti-democratic smell around it.

But the old rules help the winner by exaggerating their margin of victory. And it avoids the nightmare of a national recount in a contested election, a calamity that would make people nostalgic for Florida’s hanging chads.

DEMOCRATS’ CALLS TO REVAMP ELECTORAL COLLEGE, SUPREME COURT REVEAL PANIC: LARA TRUMP

Still, Warren’s newfound passion for dumping the Electoral College is driven by Democratic primary politics. Without that part of the Constitution, Al Gore would have won the presidency in 2000 and Hillary Clinton would have been victorious in 2016.

Democrats feel the college is keeping them from having a lock on the White House, so it’s a new kind of red meat. Why else would a candidate like Warren get excited over a constitutional amendment that would take years to pass?

Colorado just became the 12th state to sign a compact giving its electoral votes to the national popular vote winner, even if that candidate loses Colorado. The deal would take effect once states with 270 electoral votes sign on, but right now it’s at 181.

OPINION: IN DEFENSE OF THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE — THE NATIONAL POPULAR VOTE INTERSTATE COMPACT IS A BIG MISTAKE

Meanwhile, Warren has been joined by Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand in pushing to expand the Supreme Court. The three 2020 contenders told Politico they support the idea, which Warren said would be about "depoliticizing" the high court.

But their motivation isn’t hard to divine. First, Democrats openly complain, with much justification, that they were unfairly denied a Senate vote on Merrick Garland’s nomination in 2016.

Second, President Trump has already named 91 federal judges, with the prospect of many more to come.

2020 DEMOCRATS EYE DRAMATIC INCREASE IN SUPREME COURT JUSTICES: ‘ALL OPTIONS ARE ON THE TABLE’

But this is all too reminiscent of FDR’s court-packing scheme, which was a political failure. Some Democrats want 15 justices on the court. They obviously see this as a way to correct the fact that the court now has a clear conservative majority — a point that Trump addressed yesterday at a news conference in predicting it would never happen.

"The only reason they’re doing that is they’re trying to catch up," Trump said. "So if they can’t catch up through the ballot box by winning an election they want to try doing it in a different way."

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To have even a prayer of pushing this through, the Democrats would have to win not only the White House but a big Senate majority in 2020.

In both cases, the Democratic candidates embracing these ideas are trying to sell blatantly partisan moves as process reforms.

These are the kind of abstract political debates that, while important, are unlikely to motivate voters as much as climate change or health care. But what Warren and company are counting on is that they could excite the kind of activists who turn out in Democratic primaries.

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Fox News’ Sean Hannity faced off Tuesday night against former Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairwoman and new Fox News contributor Donna Brazile in a wide-ranging policy debate that tackled several issues on which 2020 candidates have weighed in.

Hannity kicked off the lighting round with “Medicare for all,” something Brazile insisted isn’t “controversial.” She cited a poll that showed 56 percent of Americans support “some form of ‘Medicare for all’” but also support the option of keeping private insurance.

On the subject of late-term abortions, Brazile told Hannity that the Democrats’ position is that “this is a choice that women should have a say in” and that they should have a “full range of reproductive health services.”

“I’m not a doctor and I’m not going to tell anyone what to do with his or her body,” Brazile said.

COMPLETE COVERAGE OF THE GREEN NEW DEAL

She also expressed that the Green New Deal “should be debated” and that something should be done about climate change.

Brazile rejected Hannity’s assertion that “everything is gonna be free” under the Green New Deal, insisting that they’re “goals” that Democrats have been setting.

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She also said she believed in using “multiple methods” to secure the southern border, not just a border wall, and called on Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to be reformed.

The former DNC chairwoman later defended House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., whom she called a “decent, honorable person.”

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A California man set up bogus fundraising websites for prominent Democratic candidates and causes, scamming donors out of more than $250,000, federal prosecutors in New York alleged Tuesday.

John Pierre Dupont, 80, is accused by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York of creating at least three fake political action committees, or "scam PACs," and at least 15 websites purporting to raise money for various Democratic candidates. Prosecutors say 10 of those websites were presented as supporting Democratic Senate candidates in last year’s midterm elections; the candidates included Beto O’Rourke, Joe Manchin, Claire McCaskill, Bill Nelson, Heidi Heitkamp and Kyrsten Sinema  Another claimed to be raising money for Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum, while still another was created in 2015 and supported Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign, officials said.

According to an affidavit filed Tuesday, Dupont — he also went by the name John Gary Rinaldo before changing it in 2012 — registered four separate domain names for fundraising websites alleged to be supporting Joe Biden’s potential 2020 presidential candidacy, while a fifth backed Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and a sixth supported a potential candidacy by former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen. The affidavit noted that those websites "do not yet appear to have received and processed donations."

Another website set up by Dupont purportedly solicited donations for 10 Democratic U.S. Senate candidates.

Another website set up by Dupont purportedly solicited donations for 10 Democratic U.S. Senate candidates. (Screenshot)

One more website, ImmigrantChildrenReunited.org, claimed to be collecting money to reunite undocumented immigrant children with their parents, from whom they’d been separated at the U.S.-Mexico border.

"Our volunteer attorneys, doctors, nurses and social workers are working day and night to liberate these children," read a message on the now-defunct website, which claimed that donations would be used to pay the volunteers’ costs as well as "transportation to unite immigrant families."

In fact, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement, the PAC associated with the Immigrant Children Reunited website "had no volunteers, and dedicated no funds to paying for doctors, social workers or any other professionals, advocacy or political operations."

"Thousands of donors believed their hard-earned money was being used to support the causes described in solicitations, but in reality, the scam PACs had no operations beyond the fundraising itself, and no funds were used to support candidates," U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said. "My office will continue to ensure that fraudulent fundraising does not pay – indeed, will result in criminal prosecution – by rooting out scam PACs wherever we find them.”

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Prosecutors say Dupont collected more than 1,000 donations to the various faked PACs and campaign websites, using the money to pay for his rent, parking tickets and car insurance while failing to report the donations to the Federal Election Commission. In February 2016, Dupont allegedly used $25,300 he collected from the fake Bernie Sanders fundraising website to buy a Mercedes-Benz sedan.

Dupont was arrested Tuesday and charged with wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. He faces up to 22 years in prison.

He was due to appear in federal court in Arizona Tuesday afternoon.

Source: Fox News Politics

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke attempted to play a practical joke on his wife by telling her that a turd he plucked from one of their children’s diapers was an avocado, a friend of the couple told The Washington Post.

A gauzy profile of the couple that was published Tuesday and titled "Are Amy and Beto O’Rourke the future of politics?" described the former congressman as an "impulsive and puckish" character who proposed to his future wife on April Fool’s Day.

OPINION: IS BETO O’ROURKE THE SELFIE-POLITICIAN AND METAPHOR FOR OUR TIMES?

Neither Beto nor Amy O’Rourke would confirm the baby poop story, though neither denied it and The Post reported that O’Rourke told the paper it sounded like something he would do. The O’Rourkes have three children: Ulysses, Molly, and Henry. It was not clear which child supplied the raw material for the reported prank.

The Post report also said that O’Rourke deployed a remote-controlled cockroach in the family kitchen and attempted to scare his wife in the shower, a la Anthony Perkins in the 1960 Alfred Hitchcock classic, "Psycho."

O’Rourke, who nearly unseated U.S. Sen Ted Cruz in last year’s midterm elections, became the latest Democrat to enter the presidential race last week. Almost immediately after O’Rourke threw his hat into the ring, he was criticized for saying that his wife has raised their three children "sometimes with my help" at multiple campaign stops in Iowa.

O’Rourke said the criticism of his "ham-handed" attempt to highlight his wife’s work in their marriage was "right on."

"Not only will I not say that again, but I will be much more thoughtful in the ways that I talk about my marriage," he said.

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The controversy did not appear to lessen enthusiasm among his supporters. On Monday, O’Rourke’s campaign announced that it had raised more than $6 million online with a day of his announcement, the most reported by any 2020 candidate.

O’Rourke raised $80 million in grassroots donations in his race against Cruz last year, all while largely avoiding money from PACs.

Click for more from The Washington Post.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Another 2020 Democrat has come out against the Electoral College.

After addressing students at Penn State University on Tuesday afternoon, Beto O’Rourke lamented Hillary Clinton’s failure to take the White House despite winning the popular vote, adding there is “a lot of wisdom” in calls for change.

“I think there’s a lot to that. Because you had an election in 2016 where the loser got 3 million more votes than the victor,” O’Rourke said in a video posted online.

“It puts some states out of play altogether, they don’t feel like their votes really count.

ELIZABETH WARREN SAYS SHE WANTS TO ELIMINATE THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE

“If we really want everyone to vote, to give them every reason to vote, we have to make sure their votes count and go to the candidate of their choosing. So I think there’s a lot of wisdom in that.”

O’Rourke’s support for potentially abolishing the Electoral College came one day after Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D.Mass., pushed a similar proposal.

“Every vote matters and the way we can make that happen is that we can have national voting, and that means get rid of the Electoral College,” Warren told an audience at the historically black Jackson State University in Mississippi.

COLORADO DEMS LOOK TO DITCH ELECTORAL COLLEGE SYSTEM

“I believe we need a constitutional amendment that protects the right to vote for every American citizen and makes sure that vote gets counted,” she said. “We need to put some federal muscle behind that, and we need to repeal every one of the voter suppression laws that is out there.”

In February, the Democratic-controlled Colorado State Senate voted to join other blue states in a pact aimed at getting rid of the Electoral College system.

The state Senate approved a bill adding Colorado to the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. That pact would change the way presidents are picked by allocating each state’s electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote – regardless of how the state votes.

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In theory, the game-changing compact only takes effect once it signs on states representing at least 270 electoral votes, the threshold to win the presidency. With the addition of Connecticut’s seven electoral votes last year, the group now has 172.

Colorado would be the 13th jurisdiction to join the pact if the state’s House also passes it and the state’s Democratic governor signs it into law.

The uphill campaign, if ever brought to fruition, would almost certainly face a court challenge. It has gained renewed attention amid Democrats grumbling about the Electoral College in the wake of President Trump’s 2016 win. While he defeated Hillary Clinton in the electoral vote, he lost the popular vote by 2.9 million ballots.

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The pact is meant to be a work-around to the constitutional requirements that created the Electoral College system, which awards each state’s electors to the winner of that state.

Others that have joined the pact include Connecticut, California, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and the District of Columbia — all places where Clinton defeated Trump in 2016.

Fox News’ Alex Pappas contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics


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