ELECTION 2020

Casting Electoral College vote will be bittersweet for Cedar Rapids GOP elector

David Chung
David Chung

CEDAR RAPIDS — David Chung is among the handful of Iowans who will cast another vote for President Donald Trump.

However, the Cedar Rapids Republican says it will be a bittersweet vote when he and Iowa’s other Electoral College Electors gather in December to cast six votes for the incumbent, who has lost his bid for reelection.

Chung, 59, who has held numerous leadership positions in the Republican Party of Iowa, including serving on the State Central Committee, is the Electoral College elector for Iowa’s 1st Congressional District. He and the five other GOP electors will meet Dec, 14 in Des Moines to cast their ballots for Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. Despite Iowa voters favoring Trump 53 to 45 percent, their votes will be but a formality, As of Saturday, with the count from some states still undecided, 279 electors from around the nation will cast their votes for former Vice President Joe Biden and California Sen. Kamala Harris. Trump and Pence had secured 214 votes.

“It will certainly be bittersweet,” Chung said. “Anyone who signs up to be an elector for either party hopes to be able to cast a vote for their candidate to become president of the United States. And I’m not going to get to do that.”

Chung, a software engineer with a Silicon Valley tech firm, was chosen as an elector at the GOP district convention back in April. Every state has a number of electors equal to the number of seats they have in Congress. Iowa has four House members and two senators, so it gets six Electoral College votes.

In addition to Chung, the other Republican electors are: Thad Nearmyer of Monroe in the 2nd District;, Ronald Forsell of Waukee in the 3rd; Kolby Dewitt of Sioux City in the 4th; and at-large electors Charlie Johnson of Council Bluffs and Kurt Brown of Primghar.

According to Iowa law, the electors must cast their ballots for the candidate who received the most votes in the state. Failure to cast their votes as pledged cancels the vote and the elector is replaced.

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In 2016, there were seven faithless electors nationally — five Democrats and two Republicans, the most since 1972.

Chung doubts there will be any votes among GOP electors for anyone but Trump and Pence.

“Usually, Republicans choose an elector who has a long history of service to the party,” he said.

Although disappointed in the national outcome, Chung is trying to keep things in perspective.

“I will get to participate in the process, and, you know, I’m still happy for that opportunity,” he said.

To be selected as an elector often is a “sort of a lifetime achievement award” for party activists, Chung said, but he doesn’t see this as the end of the road for him.

“I’m young enough I hope I still have contributions to make,” Chung said. “There’s going to be another presidential campaign in four years and I hope it starts here in Iowa. I want to be a part of that process. So I’m not done. This doesn’t mean I’m retiring from being an activist.”

Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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