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POLITICS: White House

Electoral College tie could lead to political madness

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Politics,White House,Brian Hughes,Campaign 2012

How would this be for a bizarre administration?: President Mitt Romney and Vice President Joe Biden?

Though extremely unlikely, it could happen. A series of hotly contested battlegrounds could produce a 269-269 Electoral College tie. And that would, in all probability, lead to the oddest presidential pairing in modern history.

The 12th Amendment dictates the House of Representatives chooses the president in the event of a tie, with each state's congressional delegation getting one vote. Romney would have a clear edge in the GOP-controlled House.

But here's the kicker. The Senate chooses the vice president, meaning if Democrats keep control of the upper chamber -- as most analysts predict -- Biden would likely keep his job.

Here are just a few scenarios that could create a tie on Nov. 6: Obama wins Virginia, Nevada, Colorado and New Hampshire and Romney claims Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Iowa, and Wisconsin. A tie would also happen if Romney won Virginia, Iowa, North Carolina, Colorado, Nevada and Florida and if Obama were victorious in Ohio, Wisconsin and New Hampshire.

If the magic 269 number is reached by both candidates, the states would each get a single vote for president. House of representative members for each state would vote to decide their vote. In other words, California's 53 representatives would have one vote among them, as would Wyoming's lone House member. Lawmakers would likely adhere to party loyalties. But they could choose to cross party lines, leading to a mad dash to line up votes by both presidential campaigns.

Before envisioning the awkwardness of a Romney-Biden administration, however, remember the House hasn't decided an election since 1824. Lawmakers that year chose John Quincy Adams, even though Andrew Jackson initially secured the most votes. -- By Brian Hughes in Ohio

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Brian Hughes

White House Correspondent
The Washington Examiner