January 17, 2021

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‘Embarrassing’: Ted Cruz-Led Plan to Challenge Electoral Votes Draws Bipartisan Scorn – Newsweek

4 min read

GOP Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania on Saturday joined Democratic lawmakers in condemning Texas Senator Ted Cruz‘s announcement that a group of 11 Republicans in the upper chamber plan to oppose the Electoral College certification of President-elect Joe Biden‘s win on January 6, unless a 10-day audit of the results is conducted.

On Saturday, 11 more GOP senators said they will officially challenge Congress certifying the Electoral College vote on Wednesday. The group, led by Cruz, includes 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 Tommy Tuberville of Alabama, Roger Marshall of Kansas, Bill Hagerty of Tennessee and Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming were also part of the movement.

“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 Republicans said in a statement.

The group called for an Electoral Commission to be created to conduct an investigation into the election returns in the disputed states, similar to one created in 1877. “Once completed, individual states would evaluate the Commission’s findings and could convene a special legislative session to certify a change in their vote, if needed,” they said.

The Republicans join Josh Hawley of Missouri, who was the first senator to announce he would object to the Electoral College vote certification. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell opposes the movement, but the party’s leadership does not intend to stop it.

Murkowski, Toomey and Democratic lawmakers quickly denounced the move.

“I will vote to affirm the 2020 presidential election. The courts and state legislatures have all honored their duty to hear legal allegations and have found nothing to warrant overturning the results. I urge my colleagues from both parties to recognize this and to join me in maintaining confidence in the Electoral College and our elections so that we ensure we have the continued trust of the American people,” Murkowski said in a statement.

“A fundamental, defining feature of a democratic republic is the right of people to elect their own leaders,” Toomey said in a statement. “The effort by Senators Hawley, Cruz, and others to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in swing states like Pennsylvania directly undermines this right.”

“I intend to vigorously defend our form of government by opposing this effort to disenfranchise millions of voters in my state and others,” he added.

Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar tweeted, “With all due respect to my Republican colleagues in the Senate who are doing this: can you please get a grip? Election officials across the country, including Republican Governors, have certified these results. This is embarrassing.”

Congresswoman Jackie Speier of California, a Democrat, shared a list of the group of Republican senators planning to challenge Biden’s win and wrote, “say their names, remember their names. These senators appear willing to stomp on the constitution and dismantle our democracy.”

Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland called the group of GOP senators “political arsonists” in an appearance on MSNBC.

“Everybody should understand they will not be successful at overturning the results of the election. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be sworn in on January 20th as president and vice president,” Van Hollen said. “They are undermining the integrity of our democracy.”

“These are people for their own political purposes undermining our democracy. It’s really a shameful day.”

Democratic Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey tweeted, “This is both disruptive and dangerous to our democracy. But hey, bring your last shot because Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be President and Vice President. And you traitors will be exposed one last time, on this issue.”

Newsweek reached out to Senator Ted Cruz’s office for comment.

Amy Klobuchar on the Senate floor
Senator Amy Klobuchar on Saturday slammed a Ted Cruz-led plan to challenge electoral votes in the Senate on January 6. Here she speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting on October 15 in Washington.
Greg Nash-Pool/Getty

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