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No. 2 GOP senator: Efforts to overturn election would 'go down like a shot dog'

Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneDemocrats cut deals to bolster support for relief bill Senate GOP will force clerks to read bill to delay COVID-19 relief vote Parliamentarian strikes down Pelosi priority in aid package MORE (S.D.), the No. 2 Senate Republican, warned on Monday that efforts to challenge the Electoral College vote in Congress next month would fall short in the Senate.

The GOP senator — who has publicly and privately pushed back against the effort being led by Rep. Mo BrooksMorris (Mo) Jackson BrooksCPAC, all-in for Trump, is not what it used to be Democrats don't trust GOP on 1/6 commission: 'These people are dangerous' Trump to reemerge on political scene at CPAC MORE (R-Ala.) — argued that it would be futile to force both chambers to vote on an objection to the Electoral College vote that is "not going anywhere."

"I mean, in the Senate, it would ... go down like a shot dog," Thune told reporters. "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."

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His comments come after a group of House conservatives met with President TrumpDonald TrumpHouse passes voting rights and elections reform bill DEA places agent seen outside Capitol during riot on leave Georgia Gov. Kemp says he'd 'absolutely' back Trump as 2024 nominee MORE and Vice President Pence on Monday at the White House to strategize on the effort to challenge the Electoral College votes when Congress formally convenes to count and certify the votes next month.

"Big meeting today with @realDonaldTrump, @VP, the President's legal team,
@freedomcaucus and other Members of Congress. I will lead an objection to Georgia's electors on Jan 6. The courts refuse to hear the President's legal case. We're going to make sure the People can!" Rep. Jody HiceJody Brownlow HiceConnolly to GOP: I won't be lectured by those who voted to overturn the election DeJoy apologizes for mail delays while defending Postal Service changes 42 GOP lawmakers press for fencing around Capitol to be removed MORE (R-Ga.) tweeted about the meeting.

Brooks has said he's spoken with Senate Republicans who are receptive to his plan, though none have said they plan to object. Sen.-elect Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) has said he's considering it, something that earned him public praise from Trump. A group of 2024 hopefuls is also being watched closely.

Thune said on Monday that he didn't know of a GOP senator, or an incoming GOP senator, who had committed to challenging the election results on Jan. 6.

"I don't know where they're getting that. I've seen public statements from a couple of Republicans, incoming Republicans, but I don't know that anyone is committed to doing it," he said when a reporter noted that House Republicans claim that a senator supports their effort.

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The push by Brooks and others to use Congress's vote to prolong the election fight has put a spotlight on divisions between House and Senate Republicans, who have made it clear they are ready to move on.

Thune, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGarland's AG nomination delayed by GOP roadblocks DOJ declined to take up Chao ethics probe Trump was unhinged and unchanged at CPAC MORE (R-Ky.) and Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntFive takeaways from dramatic Capitol security hearing Biden convenes bipartisan meeting on cancer research Pentagon prevented immediate response to mob, says Guard chief MORE (R-Mo.), a member of GOP leadership and the Senate Rules Committee chairman, used a private caucus call last week to warn members of the caucus against challenging the results on Jan. 6. 

Several House Republicans have said they are backing Brooks's effort, but to successfully force a debate and vote on his objection, he’ll need support from at least one GOP senator. That’s only happened twice since 1887, according to the Congressional Research Service.

If both a House member and a senator object, the two chambers would have to meet separately, debate the issue and then have a majority in both chambers vote to uphold the objection to a state’s slate. A lawmaker has never been able to successfully throw out a state's results.