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The Brief: Texas electors set to cast presidential votes amid national attention

Texas' 38 electors are set to meet at 2 p.m. Monday in the state Capitol to cast their votes for president, and the vote — generally a footnote in a presidential election — will be unusually closely watched this year.

Donald Trump signs posters after his speech at a June rally at Gilley's in Dallas.

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The Big Story

Texas' 38 electors are set to meet at 2 p.m. Monday in the state Capitol to cast their votes for president, and the vote — generally a footnote in a presidential election — will be unusually closely watched this year. Here's the story:

• Texas Republicans are making a push to ensure there are no more "faithless electors." Texas GOP Chairman Tom Mechler had sharp words for potentially anti-Trump electors on Wednesday: "To cast a ballot against the will of the voters after signing an affidavit promising to do so, is to refuse to accept the outcome of an election.”

Chris Suprun, so far the only elector to commit to not voting for Trump, has not announced to whom his vote will go. Suprun, a Dallas paramedic, was unfazed by Mechler's remarks: "I thought Mr. Mechler understood the idea we have a constitutional republic and representatives don't always vote the way the public likes." 

The process of replacing an elector is fraught with uncertainty. Art Sisneros of Dayton has said he will resign at the meeting rather than vote for Trump, and anyone who is present Monday and meets a few requirements under the election code can be nominated to replace Sisneros. The gallery will be open to the public, and electors are allowed to bring a number of guests — in other words, there could be many possibilities to replace Sisneros. As of Friday, there appeared to be no consensus choice.

Democrats have been pushing for the Electoral College to deny Trump's win, which would require 37 electors to flip against Trump and throw the election to the GOP-controlled House of Representatives. The latest twist came Dec. 12, when a group of electors including Suprun requested an intelligence briefing on foreign interference in the election prior to the Electoral College vote. Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton's campaign quickly endorsed the idea, and the Texas Democratic Party also supports it, party spokesman Tariq Thowfeek said Thursday.

What We're Reading

(Links below lead to outside websites; content might be behind paywall)

Corpus Christi looks to next steps after water issue, Corpus Christi Caller-Times

Will Texas lawmakers toughen the ethics rules governing themselves?, Austin American-Statesman

Texas governor's racial profiling remarks prompt criticismAssociated Press

Adult Crime, Adult Time: How Texas Fast-Tracked Kids to a Life in Prison, Texas Standard

Metro ridership in reverse after transit officials boasted bus system revamp would add many riders, Houston Chronicle

Trib Events for the Calendar

•   Trivia Night on Jan. 8 at The Highball 

•   A Conversation with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Jan. 11 at The Austin Club 

•   A Conversation with the University of Houston's Renu Khator on Jan. 12 at The Austin Club

•   A Conversation with Reps. Dustin Burrows & Drew Darby on Jan. 19 at Howard College – West Texas Training Center

•   A Conversation on Mental Health on Jan. 26 at The Austin Club

•   A Conversation with Sen. Kel Seliger & Rep. Brooks Landgraf on Feb. 17 at Odessa College – Saulsbury Campus Center

•   A Conversation with Reps. Senfronia Thompson & James White on March 31 at Prairie View A&M University – W.A. Tempton Memorial Student Center

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