GOP U.S. Reps. Scott Fitzgerald and Tom Tiffany were the only Wisconsin members who backed rejecting electoral votes from Arizona and Pennsylvania as Congress confirmed Joe Biden’s presidential win in a session delayed by violent pro-Trump protesters.
U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, over the weekend said he planned to join the effort to object to the electoral votes in some states. But in the end, he voted against sustaining the objection to both states’ votes.
The effort early this morning to reject Pennsylvania’s votes failed 282-138 in the Dem-controlled House after the Senate voted 92-7 shortly before midnight to reject the objection.
That vote followed roll calls of 303-121 in the House and 93-6 in the Senate to reject the objection to Arizona’s electoral votes. That vote came last night after Congress reconvened hours after members were rushed out of the chambers as rioters rushed into the Capitol. President Trump at a rally near the White House had urged his supporters to never concede and to go to Capitol Hill.
U.S. Reps. Mike Gallagher, R-Green Bay, Glenn Grothman, R-Glenbeulah, Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, Mark Pocan, D-Town of Vermont, and Bryan Steil, R-Racine, voted against the objections.
See the House roll call on Arizona here.
See the Senate roll call on Arizona here.
See the House roll call on Pennsylvania here.
See the Senate roll call on Pennsylvania here.
U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, raised an objection to Wisconsin’s electoral votes, but no senator agreed to join the effort.
Gohmert, who said 71 House members objected to counting Wisconsin’s electoral votes, asserted in his speech that no court had allowed an evidentiary hearing to review allegations of fraud.
President Trump’s attorneys passed up the opportunity to have an evidentiary hearing in a suit they filed seeking to overturn the state’s results and have the GOP-controlled Legislature appoint the state’s electors. At a judge’s urging, they instead reached an agreement with defense counsel on the evidence presented to the court before a ruling.
Gohmert also claimed that “Democrat leaders in Milwaukee illegally and unconstitutionally” created more than 200 illegal polling places” and tens of thousands of votes were changed by workers despite objections.
Trump’s lawsuit claimed Madison inappropriately collected absentee ballots through its “Democracy in the Park” effort at 200 city parks.
Trump’s lawsuit also alleged clerks filled in missing information on more than 5,500 ballots in Dane and Milwaukee counties. The clerks acted on guidance from the Wisconsin Elections Commission that has been in place since October 2016.
Gohmert said a senator had planned to join the effort, but withdrew. Senate support was needed to trigger a debate on the objection.
See video of Gohmert’s speech here.
Johnson said in a phone interview he knew the effort would fail because House Dems wouldn’t support it.
But he wanted the objection to Arizona’s electoral votes raised so the chambers could debate claims of irregularities in the Nov. 3 election.
Johnson said he believed the debate would help dispel some myths about the election and said one thing he didn’t like about it was “how dismissive people were about these concerns.”
Johnson also rejected the suggestion that Trump’s rhetoric or the actions of those who objected to accepting some states’ electoral votes contributed to the violent protest at the Capitol earlier in the day.
He said the blame rests solely with the people “that unlawfully entered the Capitol and vandalized it.” Johnson also insisted those who stormed the Capitol “do not in any way, shape or form remind me or look like or act like any Trump supporter I know.”
Johnson’s comments that the president and objectors bear no blame for the violence drew blowback from Dems.
State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, considered a possible candidate for the Senate in 2022, tweeted, “@RonJohnsonWI has told a lot of lies recently. This may be his biggest one yet.”
Johnson said he passed up an opportunity to speak on the Senate floor during the debate over Arizona’s electoral votes. But he released the text of what he’d prepared to say, including the assertion that those who have lost faith in the nation’s institutions and the fairness of the electoral system, but “patriots who dearly love America and are alarmed by what they have witnessed over the last four years.” That includes his complaints of a corrupt FBI investigation of President Trump, a “grossly biased media,” social media that censors conservatives, and courts and election officials who have usurped the authority of state legislatures.
See the prepared remarks here.
The Oshkosh Republican said he has “a lot of people talking” to him about whether he’ll run for reelection in 2022.
Johnson had pledged to serve just two terms ahead of his reelection in 2016, but has hedged on that promise.
He acknowledged Dems’ wins in the two Georgia U.S. Senate races will play into his decision. Those wins mean a 50-50 split in the Senate with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris able to cast the tie-breaking vote to put Dems in charge.
Johnson was already term-limited out of his chairmanship of the Homeland Security & Government Affairs Committee. But if Republicans had retained control of the Senate, he would’ve been in line to chair the panel’s permanent subcommittee on investigations.
“All those things play into my decision,” Johnson said. “Does Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) actually respect and follow through on his promise that he wouldn’t eliminate the filibuster? We’ll see if he honors that promise.”