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Pa. governor calls GOP refusal to seat Democrat a 'shameful power grab' 

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom WolfTom WolfFracking banned in Delaware River Basin Philly GOP commissioner cites election threats, urges McConnell to vote his 'conscience' Pennsylvania secretary of state resigns over ballot initiative error MORE (D) on Tuesday accused state GOP lawmakers of engaging in a “shameful power grab” after they refused to seat the Democratic winner of a state Senate election whose victory was certified by state officials.

Wolf’s comments followed a tumultuous legislative session during which the Senate’s Republican majority prevented Democratic state Sen. Jim Brewster from being seated for his fourth term, despite defeating his GOP opponent by a narrow margin.

“Republicans in Pennsylvania and nationally have spread disinformation and used it to subvert the democratic process,” Wolf said in a statement that accused Senate Republicans of ignoring the will of voters. “This is a shameful power grab that disgraces the institution.”

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The Pennsylvania GOP had largely telegraphed the move earlier this week. A top Senate Republican claimed that the contest between Brewster and the GOP contender for 45th District, Nicole Ziccarelli, was still being reviewed.

“I think it’s only right to give them [senators] a little time to review before asking them to make any decisions on this case,” Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman told reporters Monday, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

According to reports, Ziccarelli’s numerous legal challenges have been rebuffed in court.

Despite Brewster’s certified win, Pennsylvania Senate Republicans blocked his seating Tuesday. In an audacious move, the GOP majority also voted to remove the state’s Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman from the session, according to multiple reports.

A spokesperson for Pennsylvania Senate Republicans did not reply to a request for comment.

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The extraordinary partisan clash in Pennsylvania comes at a moment of heightened national tensions over the final steps of finalizing President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenLawmakers, activists remember civil rights icons to mark 'Bloody Sunday' Fauci predicts high schoolers will receive coronavirus vaccinations this fall Biden nominates female generals whose promotions were reportedly delayed under Trump MORE’s win in the 2020 election.

When the U.S. Congress gathers for a joint session Wednesday, dozens of Republicans in the House and Senate are expected to mount an unprecedented challenge to Biden’s victory in the presidential race, based on false claims of widespread voter fraud.

Under federal law, Vice President Pence’s role Wednesday is a largely ceremonial one that involves taking an official count of Biden’s 306-232 defeat of President TrumpDonald TrumpUS, South Korea reach agreement on cost-sharing for troops Graham: Trump can make GOP bigger, stronger, or he 'could destroy it' Biden nominates female generals whose promotions were reportedly delayed under Trump MORE in the Electoral College. But Trump’s allies and even the president himself have recently pressured Pence to use his position to effectively overturn Biden’s victory.

Brittany Crampsie, a spokeswoman for the Senate Democratic Leader of Pennsylvania, said there were clear parallels between Republicans’ response to unsuccessful elections in both the Keystone State and at the federal level.

“The obvious link is the pattern of behavior from Republicans,” she told The Hill. “They just refuse to acknowledge the will of voters. They don't respect the integrity of our elections. And when they lose at the ballot box and in the courtroom, they're going to take over by whatever means they believe that they have.”