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Electoral College vote challenge splits Republican Party

Sen. Toomey said in a Tweet Saturday, that effort to overturn the election "undermines" the right of people to elect their own leader.

Posted: Jan 4, 2021 4:59 PM
Updated: Jan 5, 2021 9:11 AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) In two days, Congress will count the electoral college votes, certifying president-elect Joe Biden's win- but not before Republican lawmakers object to the results. The objection is spearheaded by Missouri Senator Josh Hawley. 

In an interview with Fox News, Sen. Hawley said, “74 million Americans have concerns about election integrity and we’re supposed to sit down and shut up?”

Missouri House Rep. Sam Graves and three other State U.S. Representative members are backing Sen. Hawley. All Missouri lawmakers said they will not vote to certify the election until President Trump's claims of voter fraud are investigated, but in the press release co-authored by Rep. Jason Smith, Rep. Vicky Hartzler, Rep. Sam Graves and Rep. Billy Long, they acknowledge the objections will not change the election results, "We have no illusions of the outcome."  

While President Trump has some Republican support to halt the certification Wednesday, not all Republicans are on board. 

“The big split right now in wanting to certify the electoral college votes and not wanting to certify the electoral college votes is not between the two paries which we could expect, but the split of fragmentation is occurring within the Republican party,” said Dr. Melinda Kovacs, Political Science Professor at Missouri Western State University. 

Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey, Utah Senator Mitt Romney and now Georgia's Secretary of State are all Republicans standing against an objection to the election results. 

Sen. Toomey said in a Tweet Saturday, that effort to overturn the election "undermines" the right of people to elect their own leader. 

Similarly, Sen. Mitt Romney released a statement which said, "The egregious ploy to reject electors may enhance the political ambition of some, but dangerously threatens our Democratic Republic."

The question of certifying the election is drawing a line in the sand within the Republican Party. 

“President Trump, I think, acted as a litmus test for certain types of republican positions and ideologies. A lot of Republican identities depend on whether you side with President Trump or whether you stand against. President Trump,” said Dr. Kovacs. 

Dr. Kovacs said because Sen. Hawley was the first Senator to publicly stand behind the objection, he'll receive strong support from Missouri Republicans. As for the count itself Wednesday, she said the objection will not change the outcome of the election, but it won't be pretty. 

“I expect a mess,” said Dr. Kovacs, "When all is said and done, the theatrics will not matter. I expect that there is going to be a delay in certification of the electoral college votes, but I do expect they will be certified.”

As of Monday, 12 Senators have publicly announced they will object to the certification along with 140 U.S. House Representatives. 

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