There’s a little less red in the political pigment of Lorain County than was showing on Election Night.
It turns out Hillary Clinton won here, if only barely — by 131 votes.
With all absentee ballots in, counted, and verified it turns out our traditionally-blue county didn’t swing red for Donald Trump. The result is a reversal of Trump’s surprise 388-vote unofficial victory tabulated by the county elections board in the wee morning hours of Nov. 9.
The final tally: 66,949 for Clinton and 66,818 for Trump, a difference of a tenth of a percent.
In all, 143,296 ballots were cast countywide — about two-thirds of the remaining 9,529 voted for third-party candidates Gary Johnson, Jill Stein, and Richard Duncan. Others wrote in non-ballot candidates or didn’t vote to put anyone in the White House.
While the county shifted slightly to the left, the official numbers do little to change the flavor of its various communities. Where we publish newspapers, Amherst and Wellington still remain solidly pro-Trump while Oberlin is extremely pro-Clinton.
The Lorain County distinction hardly matters in light of the Republican President-elect’s overwhelming statewide surge to seize Ohio’s 18 Electoral College votes.
But in the weeks since the election, Clinton’s popular vote lead has exploded. She now holds in excess of two million more votes than Trump, albeit from the wrong geographies to make a difference.
In the United States, presidents are ultimately chosen by the Electoral College, political insiders who use the popular vote as a kind of straw poll to — in theory — guide their selection.
The Electoral College will convene Dec. 19 in state legislatures. It remains possible that “faithless electors” will abandon the partisan lines that give Trump the Oval Office despite losing the popular vote.
Most analysts say there is little chance Clinton will get the designees’ nod, despite her two million vote lead, which is the largest margin of victory in U.S. history.
If so, it will be the fifth time the College has elevated the popular vote loser to the presidency. Such cases include John Quincy Adams in 1824, Rutherford B. Hayes in 1876, and Benjamin Harrison in 1888.
The most recent case is the election of President George W. Bush in 2000. He was defeated by Al Gore, who won 540,000 more popular votes but was spurned by the College.
Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.
Graphic by Jason Hawk | Civitas Media Election Night results showed a win for presidential candidate Donald Trump, the first time Lorain County went red in at least a quarter-century. The official tally, however, gives Hillary Clinton a very narrow local win, painting our area purple.