cloudy.png
Monday December 6th, 2021 9:48AM

GOP's Biden vote revolt is atypical challenge for McConnell

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell thinks it’s dangerous for his party to challenge President-elect Joe Biden’s election triumph. But some Republicans are charging ahead anyway, and this time McConnell is facing dynamics he can’t fully control.

Despite the Kentucky Republican’s opposition, 13 GOP senators have said they will join scores of their House colleagues Wednesday and object when Congress formally affirms Biden’s Electoral College victory. The effort, certain to fail, has been spurred by the soundly defeated President Donald Trump as an unjustified, last-gasp effort to override the election results, which all 50 states have already certified.

McConnell has warned his colleagues that the showdown is risky because it will force GOP senators, including those in potentially tough 2022 reelections, to decide whether to support or oppose the tweet-happy Trump in a fight they are sure to lose. In mid-December, McConnell privately warned them that pressing the issue would force a “terrible vote,” even as he publicly congratulated the Democrat Biden for his win, ignoring Trump's refusal to concede.

To drive home his views, GOP aides say McConnell plans to be first speaker when the initial objection is raised during Wednesday's joint session of Congress and senators return to their chamber for a two-hour debate and vote. McConnell has also made clear the Senate will meet all night if necessary to handle all the objections, the aides said.

McConnell has actively avoided confrontation with Trump whenever possible, but he is plainly fed up with the Trump chaos. His remarks Wednesday are sure to leave no doubt how seriously he views the vote, which goes to the heart of the orderly transfer of power in American democracy.

But McConnell can't prevent the objections, which are allowed by the Constitution and federal law if one representative and one senator challenge a state's electoral votes. He's also facing overpowering political dynamics, including some senators' expected 2024 presidential ambitions, others' desire to protect themselves from 2022 primaries prompted by an offended Trump, and the temptation to use the fight to raise money and buttress support from Trump's ardent followers.

“You've got people who'd like to be presidential candidates who are acting in the best interests of being candidates," said David Winston, a political adviser to congressional GOP leaders.

Trump’s claims of voter fraud, which he began lodging months before Election Day, have been rejected by Republican and Democratic officials in state after state and numerous judges, including the conservative-dominated Supreme Court. Trump’s former attorney general, William Barr, has said there is no evidence of fraud that could change the election outcome.

Freshman Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., has said he will challenge Pennsylvania's electoral votes. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, leading a group of 11 senators who want to create a commission to examine groundless allegations of election fraud, is expected to challenge Arizona's votes. Both men are expected to run for president in 2024.

Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., may also challenge the results in her state. Pennsylvania, Arizona and Georgia were all pivotal states that Biden won on his way to his 306-232 Electoral College win.

Spokesman David Popp said McConnell is not pressuring colleagues to vote with him. But he's made his views clear, last week telling GOP senators that he considers the vote the most consequential of his career and sharing his views with numerous colleagues who've sought him out.

His most powerful allies are with him, with GOP Whip John Thune of South Dakota earning a Twitter threat from Trump after predicting the Senate effort would “go down like a shot dog.”

McConnell is trying to steer his colleagues to a conservative argument that Congress shouldn't overrule states' election decisions. He's gained momentum in recent days, winning support from influential members including moderate Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and conservative Sens. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and Pat Toomey, R-Pa.

Aides expect a majority of GOP senators to join McConnell and all Democrats in shooting down the electoral vote challenges. Cotton is considered another presidential contender.

McConnell, 78, has served as Republican leader since 2007 and is the longest-serving Senate GOP leader in history.

McConnell hasn’t shied from past battles with the party’s conservative base. He’s won more than not lately, but in 2010 and 2012 fringe GOP candidates in Nevada, Colorado and Indiana appeared to cost the party seats. But he turned the tide in 2014, beating back a primary challenge of his own and leading the GOP to Senate control after eight years in the minority.

Cruz's group includes all four freshmen Senate Republicans, a troubling sign for McConnell as stalwart allies like Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Pat Roberts, R-Kan., have retired. Each freshman pledged fealty to Trump in their campaigns and are casting the first vote of their Senate careers in line with Trump’s wishes.

In an earlier day, freshmen might have been more inclined to side with establishment leadership figures who are likely to be more important than a departing president.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Elections, General Presidential Election News, AP Elections - Political Conventions
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
The Latest: Warnock thanks supporters, voices optimism
Democratic Senate candidate Raphael Warnock has given what amounts to a victory speech, saying he was honored by the faith that voters had shown in him and promising to work for all Georgians
1:13AM ( 18 minutes ago )
GOP's Biden vote revolt is atypical challenge for McConnell
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell thinks it’s dangerous for his party to challenge President-elect Joe Biden’s election triumph
1:02AM ( 29 minutes ago )
US upsets Canada 2-0 to win world junior hockey championship
Spencer Knight made 34 saves and the United States upset Canada 2-0 to win the world junior hockey championship
1:01AM ( 30 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Kim opens North Korean congress by admitting policy failures
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has admitted that his economic development plans have failed as he opens the first full ruling party congress in five years
12:25AM ( 1 hour ago )
Georgia counts ballots as US Senate control hangs in balance
Georgia officials are counting the final votes of the nation’s turbulent 2020 election season as polls closed in two critical races that will determine control of the U.S. Senate and, in turn, the fate of President-elect Joe Biden’s legislative agenda
12:22AM ( 1 hour ago )
About 50 Hong Kong activists arrested under new security law
Hong Kong police have arrested about 50 former lawmakers and activists in the largest move against the city's pro-democracy movement since a national security law was imposed last July
11:57PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Reports: Dozens of Hong Kong pro-democracy figures arrested
An opposition party and local media say about 50 Hong Kong pro-democracy figures have been arrested by police under the new national security law
9:44PM ( 3 hours ago )
The Latest: China's Hebei toughens virus rules over outbreak
China’s Hebei province is enforcing stricter control measures following a further rise in coronavirus cases in the province, which is adjacent to the capital Beijing and is due to host events for next year’s Winter Olympics
9:19PM ( 4 hours ago )
The Latest: FBI probed bomb threat for Georgia polling site
The elections director for Georgia’s most populous county says a bomb threat targeting an Election Day polling place in Georgia’s most populous county was investigated last week by the FBI
9:09PM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Hundreds of Trump supporters flock to DC ahead of vote
Hundreds of supporters of President Donald Trump have descended on the nation’s capital to cheer his baseless claims of election fraud a day before a congressional vote to affirm Joe Biden’s election victory
10:20PM ( 3 hours ago )
The Latest: Perdue, Loeffler backers gather at Atlanta hotel
Hundreds of supporters of Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler have gathered at a high-rise hotel in Atlanta’s Buckhead district
8:27PM ( 5 hours ago )
Loyal soldier Pence torn between Trump, Constitution
Vice President Mike Pence has been President Donald Trump’s most loyal soldier, dutifully backing the unpredictable leader through one chaotic situation after another
8:16PM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Elections
The Latest: Trump's false fraud claims resonate with GOP
President Donald Trump’s unfounded claims about the 2020 election have resonated with Republican voters in Georgia: About 7 in 10 agree with his false assertion that Joe Biden is not the legitimately elected president
6:07PM ( 7 hours ago )
Georgia deciding US Senate control in election's final day
Georgians are casting their ballots in two critical races that will determine control of the U.S. Senate and, in turn, the fate of President-elect Joe Biden’s legislative agenda
6:01PM ( 7 hours ago )
The Latest: Ga. Public Broadcasting denied GOP party access
Georgia Public Broadcasting says its reporters have been denied access to the Georgia GOP’s election night watch party
5:50PM ( 7 hours ago )
General Presidential Election News
The Latest: No major problems reported at Georgia polls
Voters in Georgia did not appear to be encountering any major problems at the polls as of midday Tuesday
1:47PM ( 11 hours ago )
Final Election Day: Georgia deciding US Senate control
Georgia voters are deciding the balance of power in Congress in a pair of high-stakes Senate runoff elections
11:54AM ( 13 hours ago )
Final (!) Election Day: Georgia deciding US Senate control
Georgia voters are deciding the balance of power in Congress in a pair of high-stakes Senate runoff elections
11:52AM ( 13 hours ago )
AP Elections - Political Conventions
The Latest: Warnock thanks supporters, voices optimism
Democratic Senate candidate Raphael Warnock has given what amounts to a victory speech, saying he was honored by the faith that voters had shown in him and promising to work for all Georgians
1:13AM ( 18 minutes ago )
US upsets Canada 2-0 to win world junior hockey championship
Spencer Knight made 34 saves and the United States upset Canada 2-0 to win the world junior hockey championship
1:01AM ( 30 minutes ago )
Congress set to confirm Biden's electoral win over Trump
President Donald Trump’s extraordinary effort to overturn the presidential election is going before Congress
12:57AM ( 35 minutes ago )
EXPLAINER: What's behind N. Korea's biggest political event
North Korea has opened its biggest political event in five years amid what some experts see as the most fraught moment of leader Kim Jong Un’s nine-year rule
12:56AM ( 35 minutes ago )
The Latest: Warnock gives what amounts to victory speech
Democratic Senate candidate Raphael Warnock has given what amounts to a victory speech, saying he was honored by the faith that voters had shown in him and promising to work for all Georgians
12:55AM ( 37 minutes ago )