WASHINGTON (WTVA) — Three Republican members of Mississippi's congressional delegation voted to challenge election results that gave the presidential election to Democrat Joe Biden.
U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith and U.S. Representatives Michael Guest and Trent Kelly sided with fellow Republicans who opposed results from Arizona and Pennsylvania.
Their votes came late in the night after supporters of President Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol, and it followed days of silence when the three lawmakers did not reveal which way they would vote.
“I, along with my constituents, are alarmed with the erosion of integrity of the electoral process," said Hyde-Smith in a released statement. "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."
Mississippi senior U.S. Senator Roger Wicker of Tupelo followed through with his earlier statement in supporting approval of the presidential results.
“Congress cannot — and should not — get into the business of deciding the results of our elections," said the Republican in a statement Wednesday. "Under the Constitution and federal law, Congress’s power is limited to counting electoral votes duly submitted by the states.
"Anything further would not be compatible with our Constitution or the conservative principles of limited government that I have sworn to defend." Wicker added.
Kelly, who represents most of North Mississippi, had not publicly indicated prior to Wednesday how he would vote. But he said in a phone interview during the chaos at the Capitol he would vote to challenge.
"You see what happens when you don't enforce laws," said Kelly. "This is what we've got right now with them breaching the Capitol....And there's no difference in our Constitution whether a state does it, an individual or a community. We have to enforce the laws in the Constitution of this nation."
Opponents to approving Biden's victory contend only state legislatures can change election law under the U.S. Constitution.
That argument was made in a lawsuit Texas filed and Mississippi joined to get presidential election results thrown out in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The plaintiffs argued some election decisions in those states were made by courts or election officials, for example, not legislators.
The U.S. Supreme Court tossed the suit, saying Texas had no standing to sue other states over their elections.
Alabama's two Republican U.S. senators split on the certification vote like Mississippi's two senators did. Longtime Senator Richard Shelby voted to certify while newcomer Senator Tommy Tuberville challenged election results.
As for two other local lawmakers, Democratic Congressman Bennie Thompson voted to certify. Alabama Congressman Robert Aderholt voted against certification.