The Slatest

Eleven Senate Republicans Led by Ted Cruz Vow to Reject Electoral College Count

Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) and Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) share an elbow bump greeting at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on November 17, 2020.
Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) and Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) share an elbow bump greeting at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on November 17, 2020. HANNAH MCKAY/Getty Images

A group of 11 Republican senators and senators-elect led by Sen. Ted Cruz say they will reject President-elect Joe Biden’s victory when Congress meets to certify the Electoral College vote. The group, consisting of seven senators and four senators-elect, said there should be a 10-day audit of results “in the disputed states.” Although the move won’t actually change anything, it does illustrate how some lawmakers are all too eager to go along with President Donald Trump’s baseless claims that the election was stolen from him even though there isn’t a shred of evidence to support that contention. And they’re willing to go against the wishes of their party’s leadership in Congress to do so. “We intend to vote on January 6 to reject the electors from disputed states as not ‘regularly given’ and ‘lawfully certified,’ unless and until that emergency 10-day audit is completed,” the senators wrote in a statement. “We do not take this action lightly.”

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These 11 senators and senators-elect join Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, who was the first senator to announce he would go along with many House Republicans and object to the certification of the election results. That means almost a quarter of Senate Republicans will be defying Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has called on Republicans not to try to overturn the election. On Saturday Hawley said he hopes “many more will listen to their constituents and act.”

As many as 140 Republicans in the House have suggested they could vote against certifying Biden’s victory. That means what should be a mere formality this coming week will be filled with partisan drama amid questions about how many more Republicans will be joining the effort to contest the results. “With all due respect to my Republican colleagues in the Senate who are doing this: can you please get a grip?” tweeted Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar. “Election officials across the country, including Republican Governors, have certified these results. This is embarrassing.”

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Cruz was apparently the one that led the effort and ultimately the ones that signed one were Senators Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, James Lankford of Oklahoma, Steve Daines of Montana, John Kennedy of Louisiana, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, and Mike Braun of Indiana. Senators-elect Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, Roger Marshall of Kansas, Bill Hagerty of Tennessee, and Tommy Tuberville of Alabama also joined in.

In their statement, the Republican senators and senators-elect allege that “by any measure, the allegations of fraud and irregularities in the 2020 election exceed any in our lifetimes.” But they fail to cite any evidence that would support any contention that there was any problem with the election. Instead, they simply note that polls show most Republicans think the election was “rigged,” a claim Trump has been making even before he lost. So as far as they’re concerned, the audit is needed in order to make sure Americans trust the system without mentioning, of course, that it was Republicans who have cast doubt in the electoral process in the first place. “A fair and credible audit — conducted expeditiously and completed well before January 20 — would dramatically improve Americans’ faith in our electoral process and would significantly enhance the legitimacy of whoever becomes our next president,” they wrote. “We are acting not to thwart the democratic process, but rather to protect it.”

Republican Sen. Ben Sasse from Nebraska said earlier in the week that Republicans who were going to contest the election results were involved in a “dangerous ploy” in order to further their political ambitions.

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