Arizona GOP Chair's Online Remarks Could Hasten Demise of Election Lawsuit Against Pence

A YouTube video of Arizona Republican Party chair Kelli Ward is being used to undermine a lawsuit she filed with Texas Republican Representative Louie Gohmert and 11 other Republicans in the state to overturn the election in favor of President Donald Trump.

The lawsuit, filed on December 27, seeks to challenge the 1887 Electoral Count Act, a law that requires Vice President Mike Pence to oversee a congressional approval of the Electoral College's final votes for president. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District, argues that the law violates the 12th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which, they say, gives Pence the right to singlehandedly throw out any votes that were fraudulently obtained, no matter whether the majority of Congress agrees.

However, Timothy Dowling, a Texas attorney seeking to intervene in the case, has directed the court's judge, Trump-appointee Jeremy Daniel Kernodle, to consider throwing out the case based on Ward's December 29 YouTube video in which she calls the case "a friendly lawsuit" against Pence.

Dowling alleged that the lawsuit's filers and Pence actually have the same goal: ensuring that Trump gets a second term.

Kelli Ward friendly lawsuit Mike Pence Gohmert
A YouTube video of Arizona Republican Party chairman Kelli Ward is being used to undercut an election lawsuit she's listed as a plaintiff to. In this February 22, 2018 photo, Ward attends the 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. Alex Wong/Getty

"We can't and couldn't allow fraudulently certified electors to be sent to Washington DC and be counted in a presidential election," Ward said in the video, which is addressed to members of the Arizona Republican Party.

"The 12th Amendment states that the Vice President and solely the vice president has the duty to count, legally, and legitimately cast electoral votes," Ward said. "He could decide to look at both slates that have been sent in from the seven contested states. He could say, 'None of those electoral votes count.' It's all on the shoulders of Vice President Mike Pence and we have this lawsuit to assist him in being able to do his job and to do it."

In a brief filed Thursday, reported on by The Hill, Dowling wrote, "Ms. Ward's video is a party admission of what is obvious: There is no real case or controversy here. All plaintiffs and the lone defendant wish to achieve the same result: have Donald Trump remain as the President of the United States after January 20, 2021."

"This lawsuit is a phony dispute," Dowling continued, "and this court should decline plaintiffs' invitation to swim in these political waters where it does not have proper subject matter jurisdiction over this bogus alleged controversy."

Pence himself has asked for the case to be thrown out on technical grounds stating, "plaintiffs have sued the wrong defendant."

The congressional approval, which occurs on January 6, is usually a formality that officially certifies the election's winner before the inauguration. However, this year, some congressional Republicans have promised to use the 1887 law to challenge the Electoral College's final tally.

The Electoral Count Act would require the Senate and the House to each hold a two-hour debate before voting on whether to approve electoral vote counts of states with disputed outcomes. Presumably, these disputed states would be seven blue states where Trump, his campaign lawyers and Republican politicians have filed lawsuits alleging widespread election fraud.

As of January 1, all but one of nearly 60 lawsuits alleging such voter fraud have been dismissed or withdrawn from courts due to lack of evidence. President-elect Joe Biden won the November election by over 7 million votes and 74 electoral votes.

It's unlikely that the Republican challenge to the election's outcome will overturn it, as a successful challenge would require majorities in both congressional chambers to vote in favor.

Newsweek contacted the Arizona Republican Party for comment.