In order for Congress to contest a state’s election results, majorities in both chambers would have to vote to uphold the objection, something that has never happened.
But Brooks needs only one GOP senator to side with him to force a debate and vote on any objection. If he’s successful, it would be the third time Congress has had to debate an objection since 1887, according to the Congressional Research Service.
Here are the five Senate Republicans to watch in the Electoral College fight.
Sen.-elect Tommy Tuberville (Ala.)
Tuberville doesn’t join the Senate until Jan. 3, but he’s already causing headaches for leadership.
Tuberville suggested in a video, posted online by progressive activist Lauren Windsor, that he would support challenging the results, saying, “You’ve been reading about it in the House. We’re going to have to do it in the Senate.”
Tuberville’s campaign manager has also said he’s “very seriously” considering objecting to the Electoral College results next month.
Trump and his allies have seized on Tuberville’s potential objection, putting him in a high-profile political bind.
But he’s likely to face efforts from Senate GOP leaders to dissuade him going forward or at least get a read on what he’s thinking. A senior GOP senator said they expected McConnell to call Tuberville.
“I would hope he wouldn’t do that. I think it’s time … to move on,” Thune said about Tuberville. “The fact of the matter is that’s been litigated over and over. … It’s time to be done with this.”
Asked in a recent campaign stop, Loeffler demurred, saying that “there’s a lot to play out here in Georgia.”
“We have many investigations underway right now. We’re in the courts looking at this, and we need to continue to let this process play out. My focus today is on Jan 5. We have to win that election,” Loeffler added.
Loeffler is in a unique political position within the Senate Republican caucus. Unlike her colleagues, who are guaranteed to have political careers that last longer than Trump’s White House tenure, Loeffler’s political future is in flux.
Paul is being watched closely as a potential ally for Brooks and his House colleagues.
The libertarian-leaning Republican senator is one of Trump’s closest allies in the Senate, and, unlike many of his GOP colleagues, he has been willing to echo the president’s claims of election fraud even as court after court has turned them aside for lack of evidence.
“The fraud happened. The election in many ways was stolen, and the only way it will be fixed is by in the future reinforcing the laws,” Paul said during a Senate hearing this month with Christopher Krebs, the president’s former cybersecurity chief.
Election experts have dismissed claims of widespread fraud, as have state officials, including a number of Republicans.
Paul is known for being a thorn in leadership’s side — he slowly walked a bipartisan defense bill earlier this month and is trying to throw sand into the procedural gears of a potential veto override. He was not on the caucus call where McConnell warned Republicans against objecting next month.
Asked about joining in efforts to overturn the election results on Jan. 6, Paul told reporters, “I haven’t thought about it or made any plans to do anything.”
Hawley is facing dueling considerations: He’s linked himself closely to Trump, aligning with him in a fight over renaming Confederate-named military bases and pushing the president to back a second round of stimulus payments as part of a mammoth year-end coronavirus deal.
But he’s also viewed as a potential 2024 presidential contender after skyrocketing up the party ladder to the Senate in 2019. Hawley has been trying to build his own brand as a conservative populist, but he could also need to stick closely to the president, who has flirted with his own 2024 bid and retains a tight grip on the party’s base.
Cruz — like Hawley and Cotton, a potential 2024 contender — has refused to rule out challenging the election results on Jan. 6.
Cruz, who came in second in the 2020 GOP White House primary, had a combative relationship with Trump during the 2016 election, including refusing to endorse Trump despite speaking at the GOP convention.
Cruz pushed the Supreme Court to take up a case, led by Texas, challenging Biden’s win in four key states and accepted an offer from Trump to argue the case if the court had taken it up — something it rejected, handing the president a high-profile slap.
Brooks has briefed the Senate GOP Steering Committee, of which Cruz is a member, on his plan as he’s tried to win over crucial supporters.
“There are still multiple pending lawsuits,” Cruz said on Monday when asked if he would challenge the results next month. “We need to let the legal process play out.”
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