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Sen. Ron Johnson joins group of GOP senators challenging Biden win

Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wis.,...
Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wis., speaks during a hearing to discuss election security and the 2020 election process on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool via AP)(Jim Lo Scalzo | AP)
Published: Jan. 2, 2021 at 5:19 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV/AP) - U.S. Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin has joined nearly a dozen other Republican senators pledging to reject the presidential election results when Congress meets next week to count Electoral College votes and certify Joe Biden as the President-election. His declaration also elicited a quick condemnation by Gov. Tony Evers.

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas on Saturday announced a coalition of 11 Republican senators who have been enlisted for Trump’s effort to subvert the will of American voters. Johnson is the only senator among them who represents a state whose election has been called into question by the Trump campaign.

In a joint letter by the senators, they claimed the election contained “unprecedented allegations” of voter fraud and violations of law, arguing “the allegations of fraud and irregularities in the 2020 election exceed any in our lifetimes.”

“The election of 2020, like the election of 2016, was hard fought and, in many swing states, narrowly decided. The 2020 election, however, featured unprecedented allegations of voter fraud, violations and lax enforcement of election law, and other voting irregularities,” they contended.

The senators vowed to vote against certain state electors on Wednesday unless Congress appoints an electoral commission to immediately conduct an audit of the election results. They are zeroing in on the states where Trump has raised unfounded claims of voter fraud. Congress is unlikely to agree to their demand.

The group, which presented no new evidence of election problems, includes 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, and Sens.-elect Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, Roger Marshall of Kansas, Bill Hagerty of Tennessee and Tommy Tuberville of Alabama.

Wisconsin Democrats push back

Gov. Tony Evers wasted little time taking to Twitter to call out his home state Republican by name, calling his intention to contest the electoral vote “disgraceful.”

“The people of Wisconsin voted and made their voices heard and the results are clear—Joe Biden won Wisconsin’s Electoral College votes and he will be the next president of the United States. It’s irresponsible to claim otherwise,” the Democratic governor wrote.

Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin also weighing in on Twitter. Baldwin called the allegations an “attack on the will of the people and our Democracy.” Baldwin also stated that the attempts to challenge Biden’s win will fail.

Trump challenges

President Trump, the first president to lose a reelection bid in almost 30 years, has attributed his defeat to widespread voter fraud, despite the consensus of nonpartisan election officials and even Trump’s attorney general that there was none. Of the roughly 50 lawsuits the president and his allies have filed challenging election results, nearly all have been dismissed or dropped. He’s also lost twice at the U.S. Supreme Court.

In Wisconsin, the lawsuits filed by the campaign did not provide any evidence or allegations of voter fraud, instead disputing election officials decisions.

President Trump tweeted a list of the signers, including Johnson, saying the United States will “love them” for their efforts and promising more facts beyond what has been argued so far. He did not indicate what additional facts are available.

The convening of the joint session to count the Electoral College votes is usually routine. While objections have surfaced before — in 2017, several House Democrats challenged Trump’s win — few have approached this level of intensity.

On the other side of the Republican divide, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said in a statement Saturday that she will vote to affirm the election and urged colleagues in both parties to join her in “maintaining confidence in the Electoral College and our elections so that we ensure we have the continued trust of the American people.” Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, another possible 2024 contender, has already urged his colleagues to “reject this dangerous ploy,” which he said threatens the nation’s civic norms.

Caught in the middle is Vice President Mike Pence, who faces growing pressure from Trump’s allies over his ceremonial role in presiding over the session Wednesday.

Pence will be carefully watched as he presides over what is typically a routine vote count in Congress but is now heading toward a prolonged showdown that could extend into Wednesday night, depending on how many challenges are mounted.

The Associated Press contributed the national coverage to this report.

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