Electoral College fight brewing
Pundits slam Josh Hawley’s planned challenge.
House Republicans are growing concerned that if Republican senators don’t object to at least three states during the Jan. 6 certification of the presidential election results, that the "entire effort" will be "worthless," sources told Fox News.
Last month, Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., was the first Republican senator to commit to objecting to the election results, specifically in Pennsylvania, while a group of GOP senators led by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, on Saturday said they would object to the certification unless there was an emergency 10-day audit of the results by an electoral commission.
But House Republican sources told Fox News Sunday that there is a growing concern that the Republican senators will not object to enough states to make a difference in the outcome of the 2020 presidential election, which has been called in favor of President-elect Joe Biden since November.
Two House Republican officials told Fox News that more than 100 GOP House members will object to the election results in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Nevada and Wisconsin.
"If the Republican senators don’t object to enough states, the entire effort on Jan. 6th is worthless," a House Republican official told Fox News. "To have any chance of impacting the outcome of the 2020 election, the Republican senators must join Republican House members in objecting at least three states and ideally all six states—Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Wisconsin.
"If Republican senators only object to one state, Joe Biden will undoubtedly secure enough electoral votes to become president," the official continued, adding that "the pressure really is on the Republican senators like Ted Cruz to join House Republicans here."
"If they don’t, it will be a great disappointment to the president, their constituents, and ensure a Joe Biden victory," the official said.
Cruz, on Saturday, was joined by Republican Sens. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin.; James Lankford of Oklahoma; Steve Daines of Montana; John Kennedy of Louisiana; Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, and Mike Braun of Indiana; as well as Sens.-elect Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming; Roger Marshall of Kansas; Bill Hagerty of Tennessee, and Tommy Tuberville of Alabama.
The group claims that the Nov. 3 election "featured unprecedented allegations of voter fraud and illegal conduct." So far, those claims of widespread fraud that could affect the results have not been substantiated in the courts or by state and local election officials.
"We should follow that precedent," the group said in a statement. "To wit, Congress should immediately appoint an Electoral Commission, with full investigatory and fact-finding authority, to conduct an emergency 10-day audit of the election returns in the disputed states. Once completed, individual states would evaluate the Commission’s findings and could convene a special legislative session to certify a change in their vote, if needed."
If that doesn't happen, the senators intend to vote against certification.
"Accordingly, we intend to vote on January 6 to reject the electors from disputed states as not ‘regularly given’ and ‘lawfully certified’ (the statutory requisite), unless and until that emergency 10-day audit is completed," they said in the statement.
A source familiar with the effort by the GOP senators told Fox News that it was Cruz who orchestrated the push for the audit just days before the joint session of Congress on Wednesday to officially approve the Electoral College votes electing former Vice President Joe Biden.
The senators and senators-elect are calling for Congress to appoint a commission to conduct a 10-day emergency audit of the election returns in states where the results are disputed. They cite as precedent the 1877 race between Samuel Tilden and Rutherford Hayes, in which there were allegations of fraud in multiple states.
But sources familiar told Fox News that the group of Senate Republicans is still discussing which states, if any, to object to on Jan. 6.
Another source familiar with their discussions told Fox News that "nothing is decided yet."
And two sources told Fox News that Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., separately, may object to at least one state during the joint session, but it is unclear, at this point, which state, if any, that may be.
Paul’s office did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
The issue of electoral college certification, though, is not being whipped by Senate Republican leadership, meaning that leadership is not driving the Republican conference in a certain direction. As previously reported, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has referred to this as a "vote of conscience."
Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of senators on Sunday said that efforts to object to the Electoral College results this week by Republicans only will "undermine" confidence in the 2020 election.
"The 2020 election is over. All challenges through recounts and appeals have been exhausted," said a statement by Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., Susan Collins, R-Maine; Mark Warner, D-Va.; Bill Cassidy, R-La.; Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.; Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska; Angus King, I-Maine; Mitt Romney, R-Utah; Maggie Hassan, D-N.H.; and Dick Durbin, D-Ill.
"At this point, further attempts to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the 2020 Presidential election are contrary to the clearly expressed will of the American people and only serve to undermine Americans’ confidence in the already determined election results," they continued. "The voters have spoken, and Congress must now fulfill its responsibility to certify the election results."
The group added that in two weeks they "will begin working with our colleagues and the new Administration on bipartisan, common sense solutions to the enormous challenges facing our country."
They added: "It is time to move forward."
President Trump’s campaign has launched a number of legal challenges, while Trump himself has urged states with Republican governors and legislatures to overturn Biden’s victories.
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While the Trump campaign has challenged the results in dozens of lawsuits, judges in multiple states have shot them down. Attorney General William Barr told The Associated Press last month that "to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election."
Fox News’ Adam Shaw and Chad Pergram contributed to this report.
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