Mid-South lawmakers oppose electoral votes as others change minds

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Watching a mob of Trump supporters storm the US Capitol during debate on certifying the Electoral College led some members of Congress who represent the Mid-South to change their mind about objecting to some votes. Meanwhile, other members of the region’s Congressional delegation moved forward with their objections.

While dozens of members of the US House objected to the slates of electors from Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, they needed at least one senator to sign on to force a debate. That only happened with Arizona and Pennsylvania.

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Mississippi) wouldn’t say ahead of Wednesday’s joint session of Congress how she would vote. In the end, she wound up being one of five senators who voted against the certification of electoral votes from Arizona and Pennsylvania. In all, eight senators voted against at least one of those states’ votes.

“I promised to represent the people of Mississippi and the certification process gives me an opportunity to use my vote to voice their concerns,” Hyde-Smith said in a statement after her vote to object to Arizona’s electors.  “I have followed the proceedings after the 2020 presidential election and heard from many Mississippians who are troubled by the conduct of the election in various states and the eventual outcome.

“I, along with my constituents, are alarmed with the erosion of the integrity of the electoral process.  The people I represent do not believe the presidential election was constitutional and cannot accept the Electoral College decision; therefore, I cannot in good conscience support certification.”

Sen. Marsha Blackburn and Sen. Bill Hagerty, both Republicans from Tennessee, had announced Saturday they would join a group of a dozen senators who planned to object to electoral votes from several states. Minutes before the vote on Arizona’s slate of electors, which had been delayed because of the mob’s breach of the Capitol, Blackburn tweeted her change of heart to instead vote to certify. Neither has explained why they changed their mind.

Sen. Tom Cotton and Sen. John Boozman, both Republicans of Arkansas, and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi) also voted to certify all the results.

On the House side, 121 Republicans voted to object to Arizona’s slate of electors while 138 Republicans voted to object to Pennsylvania electors. Rep. Rick Crawford (R-Arkansas 1st District), Rep. Trent Kelly (R-Mississippi 1st District) and Rep. Mark Green (R-Tennessee 7th District) voted to object to both states, while Rep. David Kustoff (R-Tennessee 8th District) voted against only Pennsylvania.

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tennessee 9th District) and Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Mississippi 2nd District) voted against attempts to object to certification.