After Missouri Senator Josh Hawley stated he would join with at least 140 House Republicans in objecting to the certification of Electoral College votes when Congress convenes Wednesday to confirm President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, a number of other GOP Senators also announced their intention to protest the state tallies.
In a joint statement released by Texas Senator Ted Cruz, a coalition of 11 senators and senators-elect pledged to reject the results of the presidential election, which Biden decisively won in both the Electoral College and the popular vote.
In affirming their position on the vote, the group has aligned itself with President Trump, who has steadfastly refused to accept his defeat and whose campaign has lost dozens of election-related lawsuits.
The cadre of Republicans has also bucked Senate leadership in the process, particularly Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who had previously urged that his colleagues not attempt to overturn what nonpartisan election officials have determined to be a free and fair vote.
While the senators largely acknowledged that they would not succeed in preventing Biden from being inaugurated, they vowed to vote against certain state electors on Wednesday unless an electoral commission is appointed by Congress to conduct an audit of the election results.
Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff Marc Short on Saturday issued a statement that said Pence “welcomes the efforts of members of the House and Senate to use the authority they have under the law to raise objections.”
A bipartisan group of senators — among them Maine Senator Susan Collins and Utah Senator Mitt Romney, who also spoke out against the coalition’s planned effort on Saturday — issued a statement on Sunday in which they said the “2020 election is over,” and that any attempts to further cast doubt on the election would be subverting the will of American voters.
Here is where Senate Republicans stand on the issue.
Opposed to certifying Biden as President:
In the joint statement released by Texas Senator Ted Cruz, the coalition of 11 senators and senators-elect pledged to object to the results of the election when Congress meets Wednesday to count the Electoral College votes and certify Biden’s win.
Cruz and his fellow co-signers argued that the rejection of electors or an election audit would restore trust in the electoral process, which Utah Senator Mitt Romney called “nonsense.”
Those who signed the letter include:
- Texas Senator Ted Cruz
- Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson
- Oklahoma Senator James Lankford
- Montana Senator Steve Daines
- Louisiana Senator John Kennedy
- Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn
- Indiana Senator Mike Braun
- Wyoming Senator-elect Cynthia Lummis
- Kansas Senator-elect Roger Marshall
- Tennessee Senator-elect Bill Hagerty
- Alabama Senator-elect Tommy Tuberville
While Missouri Senator Josh Hawley did not sign the letter, he will also be objecting to the certification of the Electoral College vote, according to a statement he released last Wednesday.
Two Republican Senators from Georgia, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, were fighting to keep their seats in a Jan. 5 runoff against Democratic challengers, the Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, when they made statements about how they would approach the vote.
Georgia Senator David Perdue: If Perdue remains on the Senate, he said Sunday he would support the efforts of Cruz, Hawley, and others in challenging the Electoral College vote, The Hill reported.
“You know, when I first saw the magnitude of the irregularities back in December, early December, about our November race, I called for the resignation of our secretary of state,” Perdue told Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures” host Maria Bartiromo. “I repeatedly called for a special session of the General Assembly to investigate. None of that happened. And so I started calling out for — the only thing left for the president is for us to object. And I agreed that I would do that.”
Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler: As of Saturday, Loeffler had not specified how she would vote, saying that “everything is on the table right now,” The Washington Post reported.
She added: “This president has fought for us. I’m fighting for him every day. I stood by him 100 percent of the time. But look at what’s at stake right here on January 5th. My focus is that we have to win this election because we have to save the country from socialism. So that’s my focus right now, January 5, but as I said, everything’s on the table. We’re looking at what we can do to make sure that this is a free and fair election and that we fight for the president.”
But she clarified her stance on Monday — a day before the runoff. In a statement, Loeffler said she would object to the certification of the Electoral College votes, adding that she would do so “on her own, not as part of Senator Cruz’s Electoral Commission.”
“The American people deserve a platform in Congress, permitted under the Constitution, to have election issues presented so that they can be addressed. That’s why, on January 6th, I will vote to give President Trump and the American people the fair hearing they deserve and support the objection to the Electoral College certification process,” Loeffler said in the statement.
She added: “I have also already introduced legislation to establish a commission to investigate election irregularities and recommend election integrity measures, which I will be working to get passed in the Senate. We must restore trust, confidence and integrity in our election system.”
In support of certifying Biden as President:
Since the Electoral College vote has emerged as an issue, more than a dozen Senate Republicans have stated that they will be voting to certify Biden’s win on Wednesday.
Several also released a joint statement with their Democratic colleagues on Sunday in which they reasserted Biden’s victory over Trump.
“The 2020 election is over. All challenges through recounts and appeals have been exhausted. At this point, further attempts to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the 2020 Presidential election are contrary to the clearly expressed will of the American people and only serve to undermine Americans’ confidence in the already determined election results. The voters have spoken, and Congress must now fulfill its responsibility to certify the election results. In two weeks, we will begin working with our colleagues and the new Administration on bipartisan, common sense solutions to the enormous challenges facing our country. It is time to move forward,” the statement says.
Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton: An outspoken conservative in Congress, Cotton said in a statement released Sunday night that he will not oppose the counting of certified electoral votes on Jan. 6.
“[T]he Founders entrusted our elections chiefly to the states — not Congress. They entrusted the election of our president to the people, acting through the Electoral College — not Congress. And they entrusted the adjudication of election disputes to the courts — not Congress. Under the Constitution and federal law, Congress’s power is limited to counting electoral votes submitted by the states.”
Cotton said he favors further investigation of any election problems, separate from the counting of the certified Electoral College results.
“I’m grateful for what the president accomplished over the past four years, which is why I campaigned vigorously for his reelection. But objecting to certified electoral votes won’t give him a second term — it will only embolden those Democrats who want to erode further our system of constitutional government.”
Missouri Senator Roy Blunt: Following the Electoral College vote on Dec. 14, Blunt became the “first Republican member of the Missouri delegation to explicitly acknowledge Biden’s victory” over Trump, The Kansas City Star reported.
“We’ve now gone through the constitutional process and the electors have voted, so there’s a president-elect,” Blunt said. “I will, as Chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, work with President-elect Biden and his Presidential Inaugural Committee to plan for the swearing-in ceremony on January 20.”
North Carolina Senator Richard Burr: Politico reported that Burr “flatly said ‘no’ Friday when asked if he would join Hawley,” in objecting to the certification of the Electoral College votes.
West Virginia Senator Shelley Moore Capito: A day after the Electoral College vote on Dec. 14, Capito released a statement affirming that Biden would be the nation’s next president.
“Yesterday, the electoral college cast their votes, solidifying that former Vice President Joe Biden will be our next president and US Senator Kamala Harris will be our next vice president,” Capito said in the statement. “Following the 2020 presidential election results last month, I said I would respect the certified results and will congratulate our nation’s new leaders, regardless of the policy differences I might have with them. I still stand by this today, and offer my congratulations to President-Elect Biden and Vice President-Elect Harris. As I said yesterday, it’s time to turn the page on the 2020 election and begin a new administration.”
Capito affirmed her stance in a statement released Monday. In order for self-government to work, Capito said, “we must accept the choices that voters make, especially when their verdict conflicts with our own views.”
“Our democracy permits enjoying electoral victories, but its survival requires accepting defeats,” she said in the statement, adding that no “investigations or lawsuits [have] resulted in evidence of fraud that comes anywhere close to the standard for rejecting a state’s electoral votes.”
Similar to the statement released by the bipartisan group of senators on Sunday, Capito said the “2020 presidential election is over” and the “country should unite.”
“Refusing to count a state’s electoral votes in the absence of such evidence would disenfranchise millions of American voters and call into question the very foundation of representative government enshrined in our Constitution,” Capito said. “Therefore, I plan to vote to reject the objections that will be raised and to count the electoral votes that were certified by each state.”
Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy: Cassidy acknowledged on Dec. 13 that Biden won the presidential election in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Politico reported.
“Obviously, he is the president-elect. He has 270 Electoral College votes,” Cassidy said. “As we’re a nation of laws, and this is the Constitution, and this is the law, and this is how it breaks out, and the courts have ruled, then President Biden’s going to be our next president.”
He was also among the group of bipartisan senators who released a statement on Sunday affirming Biden’s victory.
Maine Senator Susan Collins: Collins released a statement in November, the Portland Press Herald reported, in which she strongly criticized the Trump campaign’s efforts to overturn the election and block votes from being certified in states.
“There is a right way and a wrong way for the incumbent president to pursue his rights to contest what he perceives as election irregularities,” Collins said in the statement. “The right way is to compile the evidence and mount legal challenges in our courts. The wrong way is to attempt to pressure state election officials. That undermines the public’s faith in our election results without evidence and court rulings to support the allegations. The states should proceed to certify their election results as scheduled.”
The Washington Post reported that Collins said the attempt by her colleagues to overturn the election is “not an effort that I’m going to support.” She also was also among the group of bipartisan senators who released a statement on Sunday affirming Biden’s victory.
Texas Senator John Cornyn: In an interview with Politico on Friday, Cornyn said he did not support any effort to overturn the election.
“There’s good constitutional and other legal grounds to say: You had your day in court, 60 different lawsuits in state courts, you had a chance to appeal those to the Supreme Court, and as I read the law once a state certifies its electoral vote it’s conclusive,” Cornyn said.
Nebraska Senator Deb Fischer: The Washington Post obtained a letter Fischer sent to a constituent, in which she said the following: “I look forward to working with President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris to keep our nation safe, update our infrastructure, and provide opportunities to families.”
Fischer, the Post reported, said Trump’s conspiracy theories did not impress her.
“He can say whatever he wants,” Fischer said. “If I was bothered by everything that everyone around here says, I couldn’t come back.”
Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell: When McConnell opened up the Senate on Dec. 15, he offered his congratulations to Biden and said that the Electoral College had “spoken.”
“I want to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden,” McConnell said. “Many of us had hoped the presidential election would yield a different result. But our system of government has the processes to determine who will be sworn in on Jan. 20. The Electoral College has spoken.”
McConnell, along with other GOP leaders, has also warned Republican lawmakers to not engage in efforts to dispute the Electoral College tally when Congress convenes on Jan. 6 to confirm the results, saying such actions would “yield a ‘terrible vote’ for Republicans,” the Associated Press reported.
Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski: Murkowski said in a statement that she swore an oath to “support and defend the Constitution” and that she will vote to affirm the 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,” Murkowski said.
Murkowski urged her colleagues to “recognize” that no evidence of election fraud has been found and to join her “in maintaining confidence in the Electoral College and our elections so that we ensure we have the continued trust of the American people.” She also was also among the group of bipartisan senators who released a statement on Sunday affirming Biden’s victory.
Ohio Senator Rob Portman: Portman released a statement on Dec. 14 in which he said that “I think we need to respect this process the Founding Fathers established, and we must respect the will of the voters.”
“The orderly transfer of power is a hallmark of our democracy, and although I supported President Trump, the Electoral College vote today makes clear that Joe Biden is now President-Elect,” Portman said.
Portman doubled down on his position that the Electoral College votes should be certified — and Biden declared the winner — in a new statement released Monday. He said that the Constitution “created a system for electing the President through the Electoral College that ensures the people and the states hold the power, not Congress,” and therefore he “cannot support allowing Congress to thwart the will of the voters.”
“Over the course of my public service career I have taken the same oath on numerous occasions, swearing to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States,” Portman said in the statement. “I plan on honoring that oath by supporting the state certifications and the will of the people. I will vote to certify in accordance with my duty under the Constitution.”
Utah Senator Mitt Romney: Romney had some strong words for his colleagues and their effort to subvert the will of American voters on Saturday. The former governor of Massachusetts called his fellow Republican senators’ plan to reject electors “an egregious ploy.”
“The egregious ploy to reject electors may enhance the political ambition of some, but dangerously threatens our Democratic Republic,” Romney said. “The congressional power to reject electors is reserved for the most extreme and unusual circumstances. These are far from it.”
If Congress were to reject state electors, Romney said, “partisans would inevitably demand the same any time their candidate had lost.”
“Congress, not voters in the respective states, would choose our presidents,” he said.
Romney said in addition to the “ill-conceived endeavor” of the 11 senators “is the President’s call for his supporters to come to the Capitol on the day when this matter is to be debated and decided.”
“I could never have imagined seeing these things in the greatest democracy in the world,” Romney concluded. “Has ambition so eclipsed principle?”
Romney was among the group of bipartisan senators who released a statement on Sunday affirming Biden’s victory.
South Dakota Senator Mike Rounds: After the Electoral College’s vote was made clear on Dec. 14, Rounds told Politico, “Vice President Biden is the president-elect based on the electoral count.”
Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse: In a lengthy Facebook post on Dec. 30, Sasse said he “will not be participating in a project to overturn the election” and that he has been urging his “colleagues also to reject this dangerous ploy.”
“The president and his allies are playing with fire. They have been asking — first the courts, then state legislatures, now the Congress — to overturn the results of a presidential election. They have unsuccessfully called on judges and are now calling on federal officeholders to invalidate millions and millions of votes. If you make big claims, you had better have the evidence. But the president doesn’t and neither do the institutional arsonist members of Congress who will object to the Electoral College vote.
Let’s be clear what is happening here: We have a bunch of ambitious politicians who think there’s a quick way to tap into the president’s populist base without doing any real, long-term damage. But they’re wrong — and this issue is bigger than anyone’s personal ambitions. Adults don’t point a loaded gun at the heart of legitimate self-government.”
South Dakota Senator John Thune: Thune said on Dec. 21 that any attempt to overturn the election and challenge the Electoral College’s votes would “go down like a shot dog,” Bloomberg reported.
“The thing they’ve got to remember is, it’s just not going anywhere. I mean, in the Senate it would go down like a shot dog,” Thune said. “And I just don’t think it makes a lot of sense to put everybody through this when you know what the ultimate outcome is going to be.”
Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey: In a Twitter thread, Toomey said that a “fundamental, defining feature of a democratic republic is the right of the people to elect their own leaders.”
Toomey said the efforts of Hawley, Cruz, and others to overturn the results of the election “in swing states like Pennsylvania directly undermines this right.”
The evidence that Biden won the election, Toomey said, “is overwhelming.”
“His narrow victory in Pennsylvania is easily explained by the decline in suburban support for President Trump and the president’s slightly smaller victory margins in most rural counties,” Toomey said.
While Toomey acknowledged he cast his for Trump in the election, he said that on Wednesday — when Congress meets — he intends to “vigorously defend our form of government by opposing this effort to disenfranchise millions of voters in my state and others.”
Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker: “I think the overwhelming weight of the evidence is that Joe Biden defeated my candidate Donald Trump and I have to live with it,” Wicker said on Sunday, The Hill reported.
North Dakota Senator Kevin Cramer: Cramer said in a statement released Monday that while he shares some of the concerns about the election as his colleagues who plan on objecting to the certification of the Electoral College votes, “the Founding Fathers did not design a system where the federal legislative branch could reject a state’s certified choice for President in favor of their own.”
“They created the Electoral College — and gave state legislatures the authority to decide how electors are chosen — to ensure small states like North Dakota have a voice at the national level that cannot be silenced by large states like New York and California, and the opposite is also true,” Cramer said. “I do not have the authority to overturn the will of other states on behalf of North Dakota, nor do other members have the ability to overturn the will of my state.”
He added: “In light of these concerns, I will not object to the Electoral College votes when they are counted, and — unless overwhelmingly persuasive evidence is presented before the Senate when we debate the objections — I will not vote to reject the results.”
Cramer said he was disappointed that this vote “has become the exclusive litmus test for whether or not a member of Congress stands with President Trump.”
“While I am not pleased with the outcome of the election, objecting to the Electoral College votes is not an appropriate or effective way to change the results,” he said.
North Dakota Senator John Hoeven: In a statement released Monday, Hoeven said he will support the certification of the Electoral College votes because, under “the Constitution, states are responsible for our elections, and the people, through the Electoral College, elect the President. Each state certifies its electoral vote, not Congress.”
“The people of North Dakota do not want Congress to determine their vote, and we should not set the precedent by doing it for other states. Therefore, I do not plan to object,” Hoeven said. “Additionally, the courts, not Congress, are responsible for resolving any electoral disputes and any irregularities should be adjudicated through the courts. This is what the Constitution outlines and that is how we should proceed.”
South Carolina Senator Tim Scott: In a statement released on Tuesday, Scott said there is no part for Congress to play in determining the winner of the election after results have been certified.
“As I read the Constitution, there is no constitutionally viable means for the Congress to overturn an election wherein the states have certified and sent their Electors. Some of my colleagues believe they have found a path, and while our opinions differ, I do not doubt their good intentions to take steps towards stamping out voter fraud. Importantly, I disagree with their method both in principle and in practice. For their theory to work, Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats would have to elect Donald Trump president rather than Joe Biden. That it is not going to happen, not today or any other day.”
Kansas Senator Jerry Moran: In a statement released on Tuesday, Moran said the Constitution “limits” the role Congress plays after election results are certified by the states.
“To vote to reject these state-certified electoral votes would be to act outside the bounds of the Constitution, which I will not do,” he said.
Arkansas Senator John Boozman: Boozman released a statement on Tuesday saying that Congress lacked the authority to contest the election results.
“These principles are enshrined in the Constitution to ensure the American people, not the party in control of Congress, have the power to choose their president,” he said in the statement. “Conservatives have long opposed federalizing our elections and the Constitution is clear that the authority to conduct them is granted to the states. We are blessed that Arkansas has consistently carried out elections in a fair, efficient and transparent manner. In our system, states select their electors, disputes are handled by the courts and Congress’s only role in the process is counting the lawfully certified results.”
Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe: In a statement, Inhofe said he would not object to certifying Biden’s results. “My job on Wednesday is clear, and there are only two things I am permitted to do under the Constitution: ensure the electors are properly certified and count the electoral votes, even when I disagree with the outcome. To challenge a state’s certification, given how specific the Constitution is, would be a violation of my oath of office — that is not something I am willing to do and is not something Oklahomans would want me to do.”
Utah Senator Mike Lee: According to reports, Lee has been circulating a Sunday statement from Texas Representative Chip Roy among his colleagues expressing opposition to fellow Republicans refusing to certify the Electoral College votes.
“With respect to presidential elections, there is no authority for Congress to make value judgments in the abstract regarding any state’s election laws or the manner in which they have been implemented,” the statement reads.
The Salt Lake Tribune has also reported that “Lee said through a spokesman that he has no plans to join the electoral challenge.”
Stance either unknown or unclear:
South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham: In a Twitter thread, Graham wrote that “proposing a commission at this late date — which has zero chance of becoming reality — is not effectively fighting for President Trump. It appears to be more of a political dodge than an effective remedy.”
He added: “I do look forward to hearing from and will listen closely to the objections of my colleagues in challenging the results of this election. They will need to provide proof of the charges they are making.”
Iowa Senator Charles Grassley: A representative from Grassley’s team told KCCI, a Des Moines TV news outlet, that the senator “has no plans to object to the Electoral College vote.”
But on a call with reporters, Grassley said he is “going to listen to that debate on what my colleagues have to say” and decide how to cast his vote “after considering the information” presented, according to the Des Moines Register.
“Presumably, we’re going to hear a lot of things we’ve never heard before,” Grassley said. “I don’t know if we will hear things that we’ve never heard before. But that’s the implication. And so I think it would be really wrong for me to say I’ve got my mind made up.”
- Wyoming Senator John Barrasso
- Idaho Senator Mike Crapo
- Iowa Senator Joni Ernst
- Mississippi Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith
- Kentucky Senator Rand Paul
- Idaho Senator James Risch
- Florida Senator Marco Rubio
- Florida Senator Rick Scott
- Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan
- North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis
- Indiana Senator Todd Young
Material from Globe wire services was used in this report.