House

GOP lawmakers object to Arizona Electoral College vote tally

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) objected to recording his home state’s Electoral College tally at a joint session of Congress on Wednesday, triggering a historic debate and votes in the House and Senate.

After there were no objections to the tallies in Alabama and Alaska, both won by Trump, Gosar rose to object to the Electoral College vote in Arizona, where President-elect Joe Biden won by 10,457 votes.

Vice President Mike Pence, who is presiding over the joint session, asked Gosar if his objection was in writing and joined by a senator, a requirement to trigger the debate and vote.

Gosar said it was and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) chimed in with his objection.

Republicans supportive of the move then stood to applaud Gosar.

One lawmaker from each chamber must agree to object to a given state in order to trigger up to two hours of debate and a vote.

 

The GOP is also expected to object to other state tallies as Congress records electoral votes, including Pennsylvania and Georgia. House Republicans are also pushing to object to the results from Michigan, Nevada and Wisconsin, but it’s not clear yet if a senator will back a challenge to those swing states.

The effort will not change Biden’s victory, but will turn what has historically been a largely ceremonial session into a reflection of the nation’s current deep political divide.

Given Democrats’ majority in the House and that most Senate Republicans have said they won’t back the effort to challenge Biden’s victory, it’s expected that both chambers will vote to reject the objections.

At least 13 GOP senators are backing the challenge in the upper chamber, while more than 100 House Republicans are supporting Trump’s certain-to-fail effort.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) have both indicated that they support the Electoral College challenges, while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is opposed.

House leaders have tried to implement social distancing in the chamber to uphold pandemic safety measures, but lawmakers were already struggling to adhere to those rules as the joint session began. Gosar was not wearing a mask while speaking, nor was Pence, in violation of a requirement that members and staff on the floor wear a mask at all times.

At least two lawmakers, GOP Texas Reps. Kay Granger and Kevin Brady, have tested positive for COVID-19 this week.

President Trump has egged the GOP challengers on and spoke before a rally of supporters outside the White House earlier Wednesday.

Tags Arizona Donald Trump Electoral College electoral vote count Joe Biden Kay Granger Kevin Brady Kevin McCarthy Mike Pence Mitch McConnell Paul Gosar Steve Scalise Ted Cruz

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