Pa. Sen. Toomey: I’ll ‘vigorously defend our form of government’ when Congress meets to count electoral votes

Sen. Pat Toomey. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., issued a stinging statement Saturday, chastising GOP colleagues who plan to oppose the certification of Joe Biden’s win, calling it an effort to “disenfranchise millions of voters in my state and others.”

On Saturday, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, joined by nearly a dozen colleagues, announced they planned to oppose Biden’s win, a symbolic move that will not prevent him from taking office, but one will plunge Congress into a rancorous partisan debate on a day that is usually pro forma and without drama.

According to the Washington Post, Cruz and the Republicans, whose ranks include senators-elect, are not trying to reverse the election results, but “but rather give voice to those who don’t believe it was conducted fairly, despite no investigation nor court finding any evidence of wrongdoing.”

As a result ““Congress should immediately appoint an Electoral Commission, with full investigatory and fact-finding authority, to conduct an emergency 10-day audit of the election returns in the disputed states,” the senators wrote in a joint statement, according to the Post. “Once completed, individual states would evaluate the Commission’s findings and could convene a special legislative session to certify a change in their vote, if needed.”

In a statement, Toomey said Cruz and his fellow Republicans “justify their intent by observing that there have been many allegations of fraud. But allegations of fraud by a losing campaign cannot justify overturning an election. They fail to acknowledge that these allegations have been adjudicated in courtrooms across America and were found to be unsupported by evidence.”

Toomey, who is not seeking re-election in 2022 and plans to retire from politics, noted that U.S. Attorney General, Bill Barr, has publicly said that he ‘[had] not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.'”

Toomey added, “A fundamental, defining feature of a democratic republic is the right of the people to elect their own leaders. The effort by Senators Hawley, Cruz, and others to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in swing states like Pennsylvania directly undermines this right.”

Eight of Pa.’s nine Republicans in the U.S. House say they will oppose certification of Pa.’s electors

This weekend, eight of nine of the Pennsylvania’s Republican members of the U.S. House said they planned to oppose the certification of Pennsylvania’s electors, arguing in a joint statement that Gov. Tom Wolf and Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar exceeded their authority by, among other things, allowing counties to accept mail-in ballots that were received after Election Day but were postmarked by Nov. 3.

On Dec. 30, U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., became the first member of the Senate’s Republican majority to announce that he planned to oppose the results, citing issues in Pennsylvania and other battleground states.

“At the very least,” Hawley said, “Congress should investigate allegations of voter fraud and adopt measures to secure the integrity of our elections. But Congress has so far failed to act.”

Citing issues in Pa., elsewhere, Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley says he’ll contest certification of Joe Biden’s victory

In his statement, Toomey said he “[acknowledged] that this past election, like all elections, had irregularities. But the evidence is overwhelming that Joe Biden won this election. His narrow victory in Pennsylvania is easily explained by the decline in suburban support for President Trump and the president’s slightly smaller victory margins in most rural counties.

Biden beat President Donald Trump by more than 80,000 votes, to carry the Keystone State and its 20 electoral votes. Wolf and Boockvar have certified the results and the Electoral College awarded the state to Biden when it met in Harrisburg last month. Despite that, Trump and his allies have continued to falsely claim that the race was stolen.

There has been no proof of voter fraud. And all the U.S. House lawmakers who signed the statement won re-election on Nov. 3 under the same ground rules. They have not contested the results of their own successful campaigns, nor those in the Legislature or statewide row offices that resulted in Republican victories.

Toomey concluded his statement by observing that he “voted for President Trump and endorsed him for re-election. But, on Wednesday, I intend to vigorously defend our form of government by opposing this effort to disenfranchise millions of voters in my state and others.”

John L. Micek
A 3-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. An award-winning political reporter, Micek’s career has taken him from small town meetings and Chicago City Hall to Congress and the Pennsylvania Capitol. His weekly column on U.S. politics is syndicated to 800 newspapers nationwide by Cagle Syndicate. He also contributes commentary and analysis to broadcast outlets in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Micek’s first novel, “Ordinary Angels,” was released in 2019 by Sunbury Press