A Republican elector in Texas has announced that he plans to break with his party and not vote for President-elect Donald Trump when he casts his vote in the electoral college. In an op-ed for The New York Times, Christopher Suprun promised he would try to block Trump from formally winning the election by voting for another Republican candidate.
"I have poured countless hours into serving the party of Lincoln and electing its candidates," Suprun wrote. "I will pour many more into being more faithful to my party than some in its leadership. But I owe no debt to a party. I owe a debt to my children to leave them a nation they can trust."
Suprun, who was a firefighter during the 9/11 attacks, said Trump has failed to unite the US and "chooses to stoke fear and create outrage". The Texas paramedic argued that the president-elect "lacks the foreign policy experience and demeanor to be commander in chief," has been dismissive of potential conflicts of interest and "has played fast and loose with the law for years".
"The election of the next president is not yet a done deal," Suprun continued. "Electors of conscience can still do the right thing for the good of the country. Presidential electors have the legal right and a constitutional duty to vote their conscience. I believe electors should unify behind a Republican alternative, an honourable and qualified man or woman such as Gov John Kasich of Ohio. I pray my fellow electors will do their job and join with me in discovering who that person should be."
According to The Guardian, Suprun's declared defection is the first time a Republican has become a "faithless elector" in this election. Seven Democratic electors in states won by Hillary Clinton, who go as the "Hamilton electors," have said they plan to vote against party affiliation to protest Trump's win.
Texas, which has 38 of the 538 electoral votes, was won by Trump 52% to 43%. Another Texas elector, Art Sisneros, decided to resign from the state's electoral college delegation instead of voting for Trump. Sisneros said he could not vote for the president-elect on religious and moral grounds.
Unlike Sisneros, Suprun has not resigned but instead will vote on 19 December, but will cast his vote for an alternative Republican. His decision was applauded by Hamilton elector group cofounder Bret Chiafolo, The Guardian reported.
"He is showing that there are patriots of all stripes left in this country, that if all sorts of people can set aside they party divisions we still have hope of saving this country from a demagogue," Chiafolo said.