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Sen. Cruz to object to Arizona electors who certified Biden’s win when Congress counts the votes

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) announced Jan. 2 that a dozen Republican senators intend to challenge President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. (Video: Reuters)
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Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) plans to formally object to the certification of electors from Arizona during Wednesday’s joint session of Congress, according to a person familiar with the matter, ensuring that the duly certified results from a third state will be challenged by a GOP senator.

Cruz has led a coalition of 10 other GOP senators who have threatened objections during what is otherwise a pro forma process to ratify Democrat Joe Biden’s electoral college win unless Republicans secure an audit of the election results. But until Tuesday, Cruz had declined to identify a specific state whose electors he will challenge.

The person familiar with Cruz’s plans said the Texas senator, seen as a 2024 presidential hopeful, will join with Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) to contest the results from Biggs’s home state. The person said it is likely that at least some of the 10 senators who announced the effort with Cruz last week will join the Arizona effort.

The person spoke on the condition of anonymity to disclose strategy that is not yet public. Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), who faces a runoff election Tuesday to keep her seat, plans to object to results from her home state, and Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) has pledged to contest the outcome in Pennsylvania.

The objections are all but certain to fail in the Democratic-controlled House and the GOP-led Senate, where a growing number of Republicans have called the challenges dangerous to democracy.

For Cruz, the objection to Arizona — which will come first alphabetically among the list of battleground states on Wednesday — is largely about pushing for an electoral commission early on in the process, not necessarily about the specifics related to the state.

Trump sabotaging GOP on his way out of office with push to overturn election

President Trump has falsely claimed widespread voter fraud rigged the election, but there has been no evidence to support his baseless allegations. The Trump campaign has repeatedly lost challenges in the courts of such claims. Former Attorney General William P. Barr has also said there is no such evidence.

But a growing number of House and Senate Republicans have announced they would join a challenge of the results of the electoral college, which Biden won in the Nov. 3 election — a stance that is rapidly being interpreted as a loyalty test for the outgoing president that still retains a powerful control of the party’s base.

Cruz, however, argued in a late Monday interview that his focus was not about attempting to overturn the results of the election, even as other Trump allies in Congress continue to falsely assert that the president won reelection.

“My view is Congress should fulfill our responsibility under the Constitution to consider serious claims of voter fraud,” Cruz told conservative host Mark Levin on Monday evening.

Cruz added: “And that’s why I assembled a coalition of 11 senators that we are going to vote to object to the electors — not to set aside the election, I don’t think that would actually be the right thing to do — but rather to press for the appointment of an electoral commission that can hear the claims of voter fraud, hear the evidence and make a determination as to what the facts are and the extent to which the law was complied with.”

The overall strategy for Cruz and the 10 other senators — who, along with some House lawmakers, discussed the effort in a conference call Monday evening — remains in flux. The president’s allies have discussed a universe of roughly a half-dozen states to challenge, although only Arizona, Georgia and Pennsylvania have been specifically identified by senators.

Cruz is working on a parallel track from Hawley, who are both working separately from Loeffler.