Reality Check: Common ground for electoral college nominees

The race for the White House may be up to the voters, but it's the nominees to the electoral college who will actually decide the winner. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WLOS) - The race for the White House may be up to the voters, but it's the nominees to the electoral college who will actually decide the winner.

News 13's Frank Fraboni met a couple of local presidential electors, one for the Republicans and the other for Democrats. He said they have very different political views, but both have one important thing in common.

Mark Delk, a Republican electoral college nominee, and Keith Thomson, a Democrat nominee, both share a love for the U.S. Constitution.

"Not every job people can do is listed in the constitution, but the electors for president is one of them so it is fascinating," Thomson said.

His Republican counterpart said electors have much in common.

"Folks in the other political parties have the same concern. They've probably reached a different conclusion than I have as to which direction the country should go and that's part of our great country, too," according to Delk.

In a campaign that seems to have divided Americans so deeply, the presidential electors believe it's the constitution that binds all of us, giving us the liberty to freely disagree.

"We have in the very first amendment to the constitution an idea that gives the press the right to freely question things, gives us the right to freely associate with people and think freely and speak freely," Delk said. "And that's really one of the cornerstones of America."

Thomson said those freedoms afforded by the constitution are what make America so great.

"Even when we're in the midst of a really highly contested campaign, we're all still owners of the United States constitution which is really a beautiful thing," Thomson said.

Delk said he's never had any interest in being in the spotlight but he's always been involved in the community.

"Out of that sort of grew an interest in other things, other ways to help, and some of my friends said, 'Mark you need to do more,'" Delk said.

Doing more has been handed down in Thomson's family for generations, even if they didn't see eye to eye.

"I've been an active Democrat for many years. I was actually raised in a Republican family. My mother's still a Republican, and we talk two or three times a week and we agree on some things and disagree. But we love each other just like mother's and son's do," Thomson said.

Presidential electors are nominated by party delegates and elected at their respective congressional district conventions. The winning candidates' party then sends its slate of elector nominees, 15 in North Carolina, to Raleigh on December 19 to cast their vote for president and vice president.

As we saw in 2000, winning the popular vote doesn't always win the presidency. Al Gore had about 540,000 more votes than George Bush, but Bush won the electoral vote 271 to 266. For electors, it's an honor to be selected by their respective parties to choose our next president.

"Well, I hope I don't disappoint them. That's an awesome responsibility," Delk said.

Thomson shares that feeling, knowing it's his duty to serve his fellow countrymen.

"It's a great honor. It's one of the things -- I was raising two healthy children, one serves in the armed forces. That makes me feel really, really proud to be an American," Thomson said.

North Carolina has 15 electoral votes up for grabs. The presidential candidate that wins North Carolina will decide whether Republican or Democrat electors go to Raleigh to cast their vote.

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