Even after a mob of supporters of President Donald Trump violently stormed the U.S. Capitol yesterday and disrupted Congress's official counting of the electoral college votes, most of Arizona's GOP congressional representatives voted to overturn the state's election results.
The coup-attempt was so shocking that even many Republican Senators who previously said they would object to the electoral college count, parroting Trump's false claims that the election was stolen, abandoned their dissent. Their change of heart also followed Trump helping incite yesterday's riot with his rhetoric while failing strongly condemn the violence. Ultimately, Congress ratified former Vice President Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential election.
But most of the Republicans in Arizona's congressional delegation still voted to reject their state's electoral college votes, despite no evidence of election fraud or malfeasance in Arizona. Republican representatives Paul Gosar (4th District – Prescott), Andy Biggs (5th District – Mesa), and Debbie Lesko (8th District – Surprise) voted for the objection, while only Representative David Schweikert voted against it.
Naturally, all of Arizona's Congressional Democrats voted against the objection.
Lesko denounced yesterday's violence in a tweet before putting out a statement justifying her vote to overturn Arizona's electoral college votes in the presidential election. She appeared to reference the last-minute emergency extension of Arizona's voter registration deadline, which a federal judge initially granted before an appeals court subsequently cut off new registrations a little over a week later. (Notably, the Republican Party gained more voters during the extended registration period than Democrats.)
"I voted to uphold the U.S. Constitution by objecting to Arizona's electors," she wrote on Twitter. "The U.S. Constitution says that states need to follow their state's election laws in presidential elections. Since AZ's voter registration deadline law was violated, the U.S. Constitution was violated."
I voted to uphold the U.S. Constitution by objecting to Arizona's electors. The U.S. Constitution says that states need to follow their state's election laws in presidential elections. Since AZ's voter registration deadline law was violated, the U.S. Constitution was violated.— Debbie Lesko (@DebbieLesko) January 7, 2021
In a recorded video statement published before the mob's storming of the capitol, Biggs also cited the extended voter registration deadline.
"I'll be objecting for Arizona. I don't think those votes should be counted," Biggs said. "What happened this year is federal courts intervened, they changed the rules in Arizona, and we had at least 32,000 people eligible to vote who would be otherwise unlawful voters."
Democratic Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema praised the state's handling of the 2020 November election during her floor speech.
"The 2020 Arizona election was a success — not for any one party or individual, but as a demonstration of the will of Arizona voters," she said. "The Arizona election produced bipartisan results, in which members of both parties won races — and these results have been confirmed by stakeholders across the political spectrum."
"Eight challenges contesting the Arizona election were brought to federal and state courts. All eight were withdrawn or dismissed - including a unanimous ruling by Arizona’s Supreme Court," she added. "Arizona and our 15 counties should be congratulated for running a secure election."
Democratic Congressman Ruben Gallego (District 7 – Phoenix) blasted Republicans pushing the objection in a tweet issued after the pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol.
"If you are a Republican that signed up for these bogus objections to the electoral college now is the time to get your name off the objection," he wrote. "Your words lit this fire. This is your chance to save yourself, your dignity and your country."
If you are a Republican that signed up for these bogus objections to the electoral college now is the time to get your name off the objection. Your words lit this fire. This is your chance to save yourself, your dignity and your country.— Ruben Gallego (@RubenGallego) January 7, 2021
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