Omaha, Nebraska (CNN) — Omaha is a blue dot in a sea of Nebraska red, which is precisely why Donald Trump and his allies are furiously fighting to change the state’s system of awarding electoral votes in presidential elections.

Even after the Nebraska Legislature closed the door on a pressure campaign intended to keep President Joe Biden from winning one of the state’s five electoral votes – as he did in 2020 by carrying the Omaha-anchored 2nd Congressional District – Trump loyalists are pledging to keep the effort alive.

“We are going to keep on pushing and keep on pushing and keep on pushing until Nebraska gets winner-take-all,” said conservative activist Charlie Kirk, who appeared alongside several state Republican officials here Tuesday to rally support for the change. “Nebraska could pick a president.”

Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen, a Republican, said this week he was open to calling a special legislative session dedicated to making his state’s presidential contest a winner-take-all affair, all but assuring that Trump would collect the full lot of electoral votes. But Pillen said he would do so only “when there is sufficient support in the Legislature to pass it.”

Less than seven months before the November election, the Republican-led effort to change election law in Nebraska, which Democrats have vowed to block, underscores the remarkably close nature of a Biden-Trump rematch and the precarious path to winning a majority in the Electoral College, or 270 electoral votes.

“You have outsiders trying to change the rules – you can’t do that,” said Precious McKesson, the executive director of the Nebraska Democratic Party who cast the state’s lone Electoral College vote for Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris in 2020. “Republicans know that vote is very critical.”

Nebraska is one of two states – along with Maine – that divide Electoral College votes by congressional district, rather than statewide, winner-take-all rules. Under the system, the statewide winner receives two electoral votes, and the rest are split, one apiece, among the leading vote-getters in each district. As Biden did in Nebraska, Trump benefitted from the system in Maine, a blue state, where he won a single electoral vote in 2016 and 2020 despite losing statewide.

Down to the wire

It’s hardly a far-fetched scenario that this year’s presidential race could come down to a single electoral vote.

Of this year’s presidential battlegrounds, if Biden carries the so-called blue wall states of Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania and Trump wins Georgia, Arizona and Nevada, the outcome of Nebraska’s 2nd District could likely tip the balance and keep the race from ending in a 269-269 tie. (In such a scenario, the House of Representatives would decide the winner.)

“If you believe in the Electoral College, which I do, then why does it make sense for Nebraska to not be following that same idea?” said Becky Rasmussen, who stood in line Tuesday night for the rally Kirk and his organization, Turning Point Action, held at Lord of Hosts Church in Omaha. “We’re one of the most conservative states and for (Biden) to win even a part of this state is just very disappointing.”

While Kirk implored Trump supporters to keep applying pressure on the governor and Republican lawmakers, it remains far from certain that such efforts will be successful, even in deep-red Nebraska.

To prevail in the state’s unicameral Legislature, 33 senators would have to support a measure to withstand a Democratic-led filibuster. Advisers to both parties told CNN it was unlikely, unless the lobbying campaign from Trump supporters changed the current political dynamic.

“It’s not about the Biden or Trump campaign. It’s about democracy and whether or not we’re willing to protect it,” said Tony Vargas, a Democratic state senator who represents part of the 2nd District and is making his second bid for the seat this year. “Nebraskans really care about this. It’s why we protected it for so long.”

Republican Rep. Don Bacon, the four-term incumbent in this Biden district, said he supports changing the state’s election law.

“If we’re one of two of 50 states, I don’t think it works,” Bacon said. “I think it undermines the influence of Nebraska. I think it should be standardized.”

A tight election

Nebraska Republicans have escalated their efforts in response to the persuasion from conservative activists and Trump allies.

“One more vote. One more vote. One more vote,” Eric Underwood, the chairman of the Nebraska Republican Party, said Tuesday night as he led rallygoers in a chant.

The argument from Trump loyalists amounts to a rare, open acknowledgment that the former president is locked in a bitterly close race with Biden. In 2016, Trump swept all five of Nebraska’s electoral votes, which Mitt Romney also did in 2012. In 2008, Barack Obama won the 2nd District on his way to a national landslide.

If the Nebraska law was changed before November, Republican leaders believe it would effectively cut off one path to victory for Biden and open up new opportunities for Trump in a race that could be decided by the finest – and most arcane – of margins.

Pillen agreed to call for a special session on the condition that the election bill have the necessary support in the state’s 49-member Legislature. The GOP has a large majority, but the fate of the potential measure is unclear, and the entire matter could land in a legal battle if election rules were changed in the middle of the campaign.

While Kirk amped up supporters in Omaha, state lawmakers about an hour away in Lincoln were wrapping up their business for the year despite growing demands from the right to revisit the law.

“If there is radio silence,” Kirk said, “we’ll do the next event on the steps of the Capitol.”

Kirk’s efforts got a boost Wednesday morning when newly installed Republican National Committee chair Michael Whatley called on the Nebraska GOP to act.

“President Trump and Republicans are united: Nebraska should shift to a winner-take-all system for its electoral votes,” Whatley said on social media. “Let’s get this done.”

The Biden campaign already has its eye on Nebraska, sending second gentleman Doug Emhoff to Omaha to open a Democratic Party office last month. On the wall is a pointed message painted in blue: “Protect the blue dot.”

“They can’t have this blue dot,” said McKesson, the executive director of the Nebraska Democrats, sending a message to Republicans. “If you want it, come work hard for it, but we’re going to fight to keep it.”

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