Of the 11 Republican members of Congress from California, just two opposed the GOP-led objections to the presidential election victory of Joe Biden over Donald Trump — in votes that followed an hourslong assault on the U.S. Capitol by a mob of Trump supporters.
Rep. Young Kim, a freshman from Orange County, and Sacramento-area Rep. Tom McClintock were the sole members to oppose their Republican colleagues’ objections to election results. Two other Republicans from California weren’t present to vote due to COVID-19 diagnoses, leaving seven to support the effort.
No evidence has emerged to support any allegations of voter fraud that would have changed the result of the 2020 contest, and Republicans’ last-ditch challenge in Congress was doomed to fail. Of 62 lawsuits filed by Trump and his allies in attempts to overturn the election results, 61 failed in the courts.
But Republicans pushed ahead with their bid to deny Biden’s victory, and these California Republican members of Congress were among them:
- Ken Calvert (Corona)
- Mike Garcia (Santa Clarita)
- Darrell Issa (San Marcos)
- Doug LaMalfa (Richvale)
- House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Bakersfield)
- Devin Nunes (Tulare)
- Jay Obernolte (Big Bear Lake)
The votes on challenges to Arizona and Pennsylvania’s results came late Wednesday and early Thursday, respectively, after a bloody riot that was egged on by the president led to chaos at the U.S. Capitol.
The constitutionally mandated counting of the Electoral College tally proceeded after an hourslong interruption caused by the violence — which was bemoaned by many Republicans who went on to vote to object to the election results.
Early Thursday, about 3:40 a.m., Vice President Mike Pence announced the Electoral College result: 306-232 in Biden’s favor. It was the a greater gulf than the final Electoral College result that gave Trump his 2016 win, prompting his claim at the time of a “massive landslide victory” despite his overwhelming loss in the popular vote to Hillary Clinton.
Biden earned over 7 million more votes than Trump in 2020.
But it wasn’t till after Congress certified the election results early Thursday that Trump finally admitted his loss. He pledged an “orderly transition” to a Biden administration on Jan. 20.
At midday Wednesday, Trump had addressed thousands of his supporters on the National Mall, saying he would “never concede.” Then the mob stormed the Capitol, pushing past police officers and sending members of Congress into hiding as the building was placed on lockdown.
When floor speeches and voting finally resumed on the Arizona motion, Young Kim didn’t vote since she was taking a rapid coronavirus test, SF Gate reported. She returned and later voted to oppose the challenge to Pennsylvania results. McClintock voted against both motions.
Meanwhile, two other GOP members of the California delegation didn’t vote because they had COVID-19 and weren’t in chamber: Orange County’s freshman Rep. Michelle Steel and David Valadao from the Central Valley. Valadao, who reclaimed his seat lost in 2018 to Democrat T.J. Cox, hasn’t even been sworn in due to the illness.
It’s not clear how Steel would have voted had she been present. Valadao had tweeted early Wednesday appearing to indicate he’d oppose efforts to undermine the election result.
After the siege on the Capitol, several Republican lawmakers announced they’d changed their minds and dropped their objections to Electoral College certification, but no Californians were among them.
Both Kim and McClintock had earlier said they planned to support the Electoral College results, while several California Republicans who hadn’t made their positions known voted in favor of the objections.
The Senate voted overwhelmingly to reject objections to the Arizona and Pennsylvania results, while many GOP House members remained committed to their lost cause. On Arizona, 121 Republicans voted to object; 138 objected to Pennsylvania’s results.
No Democrats voted to object to the results, and both measures overwhelmingly failed, as expected.
Correction: A previous version of this story gave a locator city for Issa as Vista, where he has a residence but which is in his previous district, the 49th Congressional District. He represented the 49th from 2003 to 2019, when he left office after declining to run for re-election. Issa was sworn in this year to represent the 50th Congressional District — and his new district office is in San Marcos. The post has been updated to give San Marcos as a locator city for Issa.