Senate

Loeffler to challenge Electoral College results Wednesday

Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) said Monday that she will object to the presidential election results when Congress convenes a joint session on Wednesday to formally count the Electoral College vote. 

Loeffler’s statement comes one day before her runoff election in Georgia, in which she’s mounting a bid against the Rev. Raphael Warnock to serve out the final two years of retired Sen. Johnny Isakson’s (R) term, to which she was appointed in late 2019.

“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,” she said in a statement. 

Loeffler is the 13th GOP senator to pledge to fight President-elect Joe Biden’s win when Congress counts the Electoral College results on Wednesday, turning what is frequently a formality into an hours-long political fight. 

Sen. Josh Hawley (Mo.), a potential 2024 contender, became the first GOP senator to say he plans to object. Eleven other GOP senators, led by Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) vowed in a joint statement over the weekend to support challenges to the election results absent the formation of a commission to conduct a 10-day election audit. 

Loeffler is not expected to sign on to the effort from Cruz, but instead offer her own objection. She is likely to object to the certification of Georgia’s votes, according to a person familiar with Loeffler’s thinking, who added that she could also object to additional states.

Loeffler has long been viewed as a senator to watch heading into Wednesday’s fight, as she aligned herself closely to President Trump and refused to rule out making an objection. 

Former Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) has also endorsed challenging the election results, but, unlike Loeffler, he will forfeit his seat until the Georgia races are certified, meaning he will not be in Congress on Wednesday. 

Loeffler, in her statement, argued that there were “real concerns” about the 2020 election and she would reintroduce a motion to create a commission to review the election. 

Trump has claimed for weeks that the presidential election was “rigged,” baseless claims that most congressional Republicans refused to publicly condemn. But dozens of challenges from Trump’s legal team have failed in the courts and election experts have repeatedly rejected claims of widespread voter fraud.  

But Congress appears poised to debate and vote on election challenges for only the third time since 1887. 

Under the rules governing Congress’s joint session, if an objection has the support of a member of the House and of the Senate, the two chambers pause the joint meeting. They then go to their respective chambers and debate the challenge for up to two hours before voting on it. 

In order for a challenge to be successful, something that has never happened before, it needs majority support in both chambers. Efforts to challenge Biden’s win are guaranteed to fail in both the Democratic-controlled House and the GOP-controlled Senate, where several members have publicly criticized efforts to overturn the results in key states. 

But Loffler’s decision to support the effort to overturn the election result comes as Trump has repeatedly lashed out at GOP officials in Georgia, a state Biden won.

The Washington Post released a bombshell audio recording on Sunday of Trump pressuring a top Georgia official to find more than 11,000 votes to overturn the election. Trump’s rhetoric sent shockwaves through Washington, dividing Republicans and drawing public rebukes from members of his own party.

“All I want to do is this,” the president said in the call. “I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state.”

—Updated at 6:40 p.m.

Tags David Perdue Donald Trump Electoral college certification Electoral College challenge electoral college counting Georgia Senate races Joe Biden Johnny Isakson Kelly Loeffler Senate Republicans Ted Cruz
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