Mike Pence Endorses Ted Cruz-Led GOP Effort to Challenge Electoral Votes

Vice President Mike Pence on Saturday endorsed the GOP effort to challenge the Electoral College certification of President-elect Joe Biden's win on January 6.

A coalition of 11 GOP senators and senators-elect, led by Ted Cruz of Texas, announced earlier today that they will vote to oppose Congress certifying the Electoral College vote on Wednesday, unless an audit of the results is conducted. The group vowed to "reject the electors from disputed states as not 'regularly given' and 'lawfully certified' ... unless and until that emergency 10-day audit is completed."

Pence's Chief of Staff Marc Short signaled the vice president's support for the movement in a statement on Saturday evening. Pence "shares the concerns of millions of Americans about voter fraud and irregularities in the last election," Short said.

"The vice president welcomes the efforts of members of the House and Senate to use the authority they have under the law to raise objections and bring forward evidence before the Congress and the American people on Jan. 6th."

Pence speaks at Georgia rally
Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a Defend The Majority campaign event on December 11, 2020 in Columbus, Georgia. Elijah Nouvelage/Getty

Newsweek reached out to Vice President Mike Pence's office for further comment.

Besides Cruz, the Republicans in the group of 11 include Ron Johnson of Wisconsin; James Lankford of Oklahoma; Steve Daines of Montana; John Kennedy of Louisiana; Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee; and Mike Braun of Indiana. Senators-elect Tommy Tuberville of Alabama, Roger Marshall of Kansas; Bill Hagerty of Tennessee; and Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming were also part of the movement.

Along with Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri, who announced he would challenge Congress' certification last month, the group accounts for about 23 percent of the 52 Republican senators in the upper chamber. Republican party leaders do not support the movement, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell does not intend to stop it.

Biden has secured 306 Electoral College votes, exceeding the 270 needed to win the president election, but Trump has refused to concede.

Pence remained silent in November, neither acknowledging Biden's win nor claiming a stolen election, as Trump aggressively claimed that widespread voter fraud caused their defeat. Last month, he echoed some of the president's talking points. "We're going to keep fighting until every legal vote is counted. We're going to win Georgia, we're going to save America," he said, as a crowd of supporters chanted, "Stop the steal."

Several Republican Senators, including Mitt Romney of Utah, joined Democrats in condemning the GOP effort to challenge Biden's win.

"The egregious ploy to reject electors may enhance the political ambition of some, but dangerously threatens our Democratic Republic," Romney said in a statement. "The congressional power to reject electors is reserved for the most extreme and unusual circumstances. These are far from it."

Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska urged her Republican colleagues to join her in "voting to affirm the 2020 presidential election" and "maintaining confidence in the Electoral College."

GOP Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania criticized the group seeking to "disenfranchise millions of voters in my state and others."

"A fundamental, defining feature of a democratic republic is the right of people to elect their own leaders," he said in a statement. "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."