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Key Republican senators withdraw objections to Electoral College count after Capitol siege

Loeffler drops objection to electoral count
Senator Kelly Loeffler drops her objection to the electoral count 01:49

Several of the dozen-plus Republican senators who had planned objections to the Electoral College votes in several key states reversed course on Wednesday after Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, delaying the counting of the votes affirming President-elect Joe Biden's victory. The Senate was hearing Senator Ted Cruz's objection to Arizona's election results when it was forced to recess, reconvening seven hours later at 8 p.m. 

The Senate ultimately soundly rejected the Arizona objection 93-6. Eight of the senators who had said they would not support the counting of the Electoral Votes ended up voting to count them, and Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi joined the objectors. 

Senator Josh Hawley, who had been the first to say he would object, deflected while he spoke on the floor after the melee but he ended up voting in support of Arizona's objection. Hawley then signed on to support Pennsylvania's objection, which then went down 92-7. 

Arizona's objection was first due to alphabetical order. The planned objection to Georgia was withdrawn, and no senators signed onto the House's objection to results in Michigan and Nevada. 

Since none of these objections have a majority, they had no chance of succeeding. Congress' counting of the Electoral College vote is a largely ceremonial last step before Mr. Biden is inaugurated on January 20.

Senator Roger Marshall of Kansas said he still planned to object to "hold states accountable to the time proven constitutional system of the Electoral College. This is why I urge the formation of the electoral commission to give constructive suggestions and recommendations that states can make to make our elections once again safe, free and fair after a year of jarring irregularities."  

One of the most high-profile planned objectors, Senator Kelly Loeffler, who lost her reelection bid in a runoff less than 24 hours ago, announced on the Senate floor that after the events at the Capitol, she could "not in good conscience object to the certification of these electors."

"The violence, the lawlessness and siege of the halls of Congress are abhorrent and stand as a direct attack on the very institution my objection was intended to protect — the sanctity of the American democratic process," Loeffler said. "There is no excuse for the events that took place in these chambers today, and I pray that America never suffers such a dark day again," she added, to applause from her fellow Republicans as she concluded her remarks.

Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma, who was part of a group of 11 senators led by Senator Ted Cruz who had planned to object unless Congress launched a commission to immediately conduct an audit of the election results, also withdrew his objection. Lankford was speaking when an aide was heard telling him "protesters are in the building" and Congress recessed.

"Obviously the commission that we had asked for is not going to happen at this point. And I understand that. And we're headed towards, tonight, towards the certification of Joe Biden to be the president," Lankford said on the Senate floor Wednesday night.

Senator Mike Braun of Indiana, who was also part of Cruz's group and had tweeted a photo of himself earlier Wednesday signing the objection to Arizona's results, indicated he would no longer be objecting.

"I think today changed things drastically. Whatever point you made before that should suffice," Braun told reporters, saying he wanted to "get this ugly day behind us." 

Another senator who was part of that group, Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, said "obviously in light of events, there's a little bit of a different attitude."

In remarks before the siege, McConnell said "the voters, the courts and the states have all spoken," adding "if we overrule them, it will damage our republic forever."

Here is a breakdown of those Republicans stood on the objections:

Objected to Arizona: 

  1. Ted Cruz of Texas
  2. Josh Hawley of Missouri
  3. Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi
  4. Roger Marshall of Kansas
  5. Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana
  6. Senator Tommy Tuberville of Alabama 

Voted to certify Arizona:

  1. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee
  2. Mike Braun of Indiana
  3. Steve Daines of Montana
  4. Bill Hagerty of Tennessee
  5. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin
  6. James Lankford of Oklahoma
  7. Kelly Loeffler of Georgia
  8. Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming
  9. Rick Scott of Florida  

Objected to Pennsylvania:

  1. Ted Cruz of Texas
  2. Josh Hawley of Missouri
  3. Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi
  4. Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming
  5. Roger Marshall of Kansas
  6. Rick Scott of Florida
  7. Tommy Tuberville

Voted to certify Pennsylvania: 

  1. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee
  2. Mike Braun of Indiana
  3. Steve Daines of Montana
  4. Bill Hagerty of Tennessee
  5. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin
  6. John Kennedy of Louisiana
  7. James Lankford of Oklahoma
  8. Kelly Loeffler of Georgia
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