Obama Eyes Omaha to Split Neb. Votes

Campaign wants to pick up just one of Nebraska's electoral votes
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 6, 2008 7:09 AM CDT
Michelle Obama addresses supporters at a rally at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Friday, Feb. 8, 2008. At right is Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb.   (AP Photo/Bill Wolf)
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(Newser) – Forty-eight of 50 states award electoral votes on a winner-take-all basis, but Nebraska, divvies up electoral votes by congressional district—and the Obama campaign sees an opening, reports the Washington Post. By concentrating just on the Omaha area, the Democrats are trying to pick up a single electoral vote in a state that George W. Bush won by 22 points in 2004.

Omaha's relative diversity—its population is 10% black and 6% Hispanic—and large student population make Obama a credible candidate in the district, and popular Democratic senator Ben Nelson is helping the effort. Nebraska has never split its electoral delegation before, and the longshot move "ain't going to happen," according to a local political veteran. But Obama's efforts are forcing the McCain camp to spend in an otherwise safe state, including a Sunday visit by Sarah Palin.