Leading in two Georgia races, Democrats on verge of Senate control

Meanwhile, Congress is now ready to formally recognize Biden victory

Democrats lead in both Georgia Senate races with more votes still to be tallied. Congress will count electoral votes today, and ratify Joe Biden’s win. Democrats grow tired of evidence-free GOP claims of election fraud. This is "Regular Order" for January 6, 2021.

DID THE GOP LIGHTS GO OUT IN GEORGIA? Democrats went to bed after midnight dreaming of a double win in Georgia, as Raphael Warnock declared victory over Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) in one race, while Jon Ossoff held a short lead in a very tight race with ex-Sen. David Perdue (R-GA). More votes will trickle in today from areas that likely favor Democrats around Atlanta and Savannah, as Republican control of the U.S. Senate is in serious jeopardy.

  • HISTORY FROM GEORGIA. Ignoring the obvious headline of Democrats possibly taking control of the Senate, a Warnock victory would make him the first black U.S. Senator from Georgia. Warnock ran about 20,000 votes ahead of Ossoff, as Loeffler did the worst of the four Senate candidates. Again - a double Democratic victory would put them in charge of the Senate on January 20.

COUNTING THE ELECTORAL VOTES. On Capitol Hill, the Georgia vote will certainly be a major story line today. But so will the end of the 2020 race for President, as the electoral votes are formally counted. All of today's activities are governed by the Electoral Count Act of 1887, 3 USC §15. Here's what to look for this afternoon (and maybe well into the night) in the Joint Session of Congress which begins at 1 pm.

  • Republicans are expected to formally challenge the results of the race for President in at least three states: Arizona, Georgia, and Pennsylvania.

  • An objection is needed from both a House member and a Senator to an individual state. When that formal objection occurs, then the House and Senate meet separately to debate for up to two hours, followed by a vote.

  • Each of those breaks would probably last longer, maybe in the 3-4 hour range.

  • In 2017, it took lawmakers only 41 minutes to count the electoral votes showing Donald Trump was the winner. In 2013, it was just 23 minutes.

  • How long does today's Joint Session go? That will depend on how many states have a joint House/Senate objection.

  • No matter what, Joe Biden will be the winner.

REPUBLICANS WILL NOT BE UNIFIED. Dozens of House Republicans are ready to heed President Trump's call to have a public showdown today over the electoral votes in the race for the White House. But the GOP won’t be united by any means - and it shows in some of the jabs being thrown by Republican lawmakers.

One of the states President Trump has complained about is Michigan. But if you talk to GOP lawmakers from Michigan - they say there was absolutely no evidence of election fraud - and they won't be supporting any effort to challenge their state's electors. Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI).

WHAT ABOUT THE VICE PRESIDENT? President Trump has made clear that he would like to get some help from Vice President Mike Pence today. "The Vice President has the power to reject fraudulently chosen electors," the President tweeted falsely on Tuesday. Let's be clear - Pence's role over this Joint Session of Congress is ceremonial. He has no legal authority to reject electors chosen by the states.

CONGRESS - 2020 ELECTIONS. It's clear that Democrats are fed up with evidence-free accusations of election fraud from the GOP. Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-PA) filed a resolution this week asking the House Ethics Committee to investigate any lawmaker who made 'false written allegations' about fraud in the 2020 elections.

  • HOUSE ELECTION REVIEW. Meanwhile, more moderate Democrats called for a special review of U.S. House elections in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. They argue if Republicans truly believe the race for President was tainted by fraud in those states - then the elections for House and Senate on the same ballot should be questioned as well.

HOUSE OKAYS BIPARTISAN BILLS. You mainly hear about political battling on Capitol Hill. But the House on Tuesday approved five bipartisan bills, getting a quick legislative start for the 117th Congress. The measures covered government cloud computing, more transparency on federal spending requests, recordkeeping and settlement agreements, new rules about the firing of Inspectors General, and a correction to the recent Omnibus funding bill.

ANOTHER POST-VACCINE POSITIVE. A second Texas Republican has tested positive for the Coronavirus - after getting a first vaccination shot. Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) said Tuesday night that he received his shot back on December 18, and had a negative virus test on New Year's Day. He joins Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX).

THE MUSE OF HISTORY. Normally, the Joint Session to count electoral votes is ceremonial. But in 2005, some Democrats raised questions about voting issues in Ohio, where President George W. Bush won over Sen. John Kerry (D-MA). Unlike Republicans in 2021 with President Trump, most Democrats in 2005 wanted nothing to do with an official electoral vote challenge. "I am not joining their protest of the Ohio electors," Kerry said, as the Senate voted 74-1 against the Ohio objection. Only Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) voted in favor of the challenge. The House rejected the Ohio challenge on a vote of 267-31.

UPCOMING LEGISLATIVE PROGRAM:

House meets at 12 noon.

Senate meets at 12:30 pm.

The Joint Session begins at 1 pm.

President Trump is in Washington.

Follow me on Twitter @jamiedupree

Email me at jamiedupree@substack.com

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