At least 10 Florida Representative signaled they will challenge some states’ slates of electors today. The potential exists that a majority of Florida’s Congressional members could side with baseless and debunked claims.
Nevertheless, it appears a foregone conclusion Congress will accept and certify Electoral College results that show Democrat Joe Biden defeating President Donald Trump 306-232.
A joint statement came out Wednesday morning signed by 37 GOP House members, including Florida Republicans Scott Franklin, Bill Posey, John Rutherford, Greg Steube, Michael Waltz and Dan Webster.
“We understand that our support of objections in the joint session may not be sustained by a majority of both houses of Congress,” the statement reads. “Our oath, nonetheless, is to ‘support and defend the Constitution of the United States,’ and to ‘bear true faith and allegiance to the same.’ Taking this action today will not undermine our beleaguered institutions, as some critics charge, but rather reinforce and defend them.”
The Trump legal team’s claims have been rejected in more than 50 court losses. There has been no evidence presented of widespread or orchestrated voter fraud. But the statement suggests it’s still critical to raise those concerns in the halls of Congress. Members also noted Democrats in the House objected to Electoral College results showing wins for President Trump in 2017 and for President George W. Bush in 2001 and 2005.
“Our support of objections will not diminish the value of the vote of any individual citizen, but rather protect that value, by ensuring the Constitution is followed and by restoring the confidence of all Americans that the rule of law will be upheld today, and our elections in the future will remain secured,” the statement reads.
Most of the members signing onto that statement also joined an amicus brief last month supporting a Texas lawsuit that aimed to toss slates of electors from four states Biden won. The Supreme Court ultimately rejected the case.
A total of 11 Florida members ultimately signed onto that brief, including two no longer in Congress. Franklin replaced Rep. Spano, and on Monday released a statement making clear he will challenge Biden’s win.
Not every Representative who signed onto that brief will necessarily vote against certifying the election; the statement Monday marked the first public stance from Webster saying he would do so. But several have made clear they will fight for Trump’s second term until the last gasp.
Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Panhandle Republican, has been part of negotiations on how challenges today will be heard. He has routinely appeared on conservative outlets like Fox News stressing the importance of challenging results. “Criticism can make elections better,” he told Fox News on Tuesday.
Earlier in the week, he similarly offered more provocative comments on the nature of the challenge.
“We aren’t going back to the old Republican party,” he said. “We’re not going back to losing politely with Mitt Romney … I’m a Donald Trump Republican.” The comments referred to former GOP Presidential nominee-turned-Republican Senator who has drawn scorn from Trump supporters.
Newly minted Reps. Kat Cammack, from Gainesville, and Byron Donalds, from Naples, both say they intend to challenge the election results. Donalds in particular has focused attention on how Pennsylvania ran its election, including implementing more mail-in voting ability during the pandemic without winning approval for changes from the Pennsylvania General Assembly.
Additionally, Rep. Brian Mast, a Stuart Republican who opted not to sign onto the animus brief in December, announced he will challenge the results in Congress. His concern, he said, was that House leadership rejected calls to independently investigate claims of voter fraud.
“Millions of Americans have important questions about voter fraud, but Congress refuses to conduct an investigation,” Mast said. “It’s clear that Congress only intends to act when it will hurt President Trump, and I will not go along with this farce.”