JACKSON — Mississippi Republican Gov. Phil Bryant says he thinks it’s wrong that a presidential candidate could be elected by focusing on larger “liberal” states and ignoring smaller ones.
Bryant — who has a master’s degree in political science and used to teach American government classes at Mississippi College — said the electoral college is set up to “favor the states like New York, California, others in the population areas” and he thinks that allows candidates to overlook states such as Mississippi, which awards six electoral votes. A winning candidate needs at least 270 electoral votes, a majority of the 538 available. Electoral votes are distributed by population.
Bryant spoke to reporters Wednesday after appearing at Hobnob, a casual gathering of more than 1,000 business people hosted by the Mississippi Economic Council, the state chamber of commerce.
Bryant has been campaigning for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who has been speculating that the Nov. 8 election could be “rigged,” without offering evidence. The second-term governor was a guest Monday on the Paul Gallo radio show on Supertalk Mississippi, and he agreed when Gallo said: “The election is rigged.”
“The election is rigged,” Bryant said on the radio. “I mean, any Republican has to have an overwhelming majority of the vote. And of course as it has been designed, as we look at the states where the more liberal voting populations may be in the cities, in New York and California and some of the other areas — all you have to do is win those particularly larger states and you can forget about flyover country.”
Bryant was asked Wednesday to explain what he had said on the radio. He disagreed that he had said the election is rigged.
“I’m not sure those are the proper terms, so let’s say what I said,” Bryant said. “I said, I said it has been designed for some time, if you looked at the electoral college, to favor the states like New York, California, others in the population areas. So, if you can capture those states, more than likely you can capture the presidency. And oftentimes, we’re referred to just as flyover country. I don’t think that’s proper.”
Mississippi’s top elections official, Republican Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, said during Hobnob that the state’s election system is run properly.
“Mississippi’s election is not going to be rigged,” Hosemann said.