Burgess Owens listed among Republicans backing electoral vote challenge

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Republican Congressman-elect Burgess Owens is among a group of incoming House members who plan to back Rep. Mo Brooks’ effort to object to the certification of the presidential election results next week.

Owens joins other newly elected GOP lawmakers who support Brooks’ long-shot challenge to the Electoral College ballots from several states that President-elect Joe Biden won, according to Fox News.

A former NFL player, author and frequent Fox News guest, Owens defeated incumbent Democratic Rep. Ben McAdams. Owens is a strong supporter of President Donald Trump, who endorsed him and whose son, Donald Trump Jr., helped him raise campaign funds.

Owens has questioned the integrity of the presidential election and said the 2020 election is shedding light on longtime voter fraud.

In response to a question about whether he supports Brooks’ planned objection, Owens said in a statement that he’s focused on making sure elections are safe and secure.

“If irregularities exist, we should examine and provide solutions to make sure our electoral process is accurate and represents the will of the people,” he said. “Millions of Americans across this country are concerned about the electoral process and we do them a great disservice by merely ignoring their voices.”

No other members of Utah’s soon-to-be all-Republican congressional delegation plan to object when Congress convenes in a joint session to certify the Electoral College vote on Jan. 6.

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., announced Wednesday that he would object to the certification to highlight the failure of some states, including Pennsylvania, to follow their own election laws as well as “interference” by Big Tech companies in the election.

“At the very least, Congress should investigate allegations of voter fraud and adopt measures to secure the integrity of our elections. But Congress has so far failed to act,” he said in a statement.

In a tweet shortly after Hawley’s announcement, Brooks, R-Ala., wrote, “BAM! The fight for America’s Republic IS ON!”

SENATOR JOSH HAWLEY (R-MO) JOINS 30+ CONGRESSMEN IN OBJECTING to electoral college vote submissions from states with such flawed election systems as to render their election results untrustworthy.

BAM! The fight for America’s Republic IS ON!

WATCH JANUARY 6, STARTING 1PM ET. pic.twitter.com/vjcUW9ec6U

— Mo Brooks (@RepMoBrooks) December 30, 2020

Brooks said in a statement Wednesday that too many states have “blatantly” violated the Constitution, federal election laws or their own state election laws, which opened the door to “massive” fraud.

“With a Senate co-sponsor now joining this fight, congressmen and senators will face an easy vote: You can either acquiesce to and support voter fraud and election theft, or you can stand and fight for an honest and accurate election system that is the underpinning of America’s Republic,” he said.

Congress will not hear an objection to the election results unless it is in writing and signed by both a member of the House and a member of the Senate.

If there is such a joint request, then the joint session suspends and the House and Senate go into separate sessions to consider it. For the objection to be sustained, both chambers must agree to it by a simple majority vote. If they do not both agree, the original electoral votes are counted, according to an Associated Press explainer on the process.

The last time such an objection was considered was 2005, when Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones of Ohio and Sen. Barbara Boxer of California, both Democrats, objected to Ohio’s electoral votes by claiming there were voting irregularities. Both chambers debated the objection and rejected it. It was only the second time such a vote had occurred, according to AP.

Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, said he has studied his role in the process to certify the electoral vote and finalize the presidential election and that it’s clear that he has a duty to speak on behalf of the election process in Utah and listen to any objections fellow lawmakers raise concerning their state.

“I have seen no evidence of wrongdoing within Utah and have no plans to object to Utah’s Electoral College certificates. In fact, as I have watched the election process in Utah, I see within it a model for other states across the country,” he said in a statement.

Curtis reiterated that he has faith in America’s election system and those who work tirelessly to ensure elections are secure.

“However, if an objection is properly raised and signed by members of both the House and the Senate, I will carry out my constitutional duty to listen to both sides of the debate then vote on the merits of the objection,” he said.

Congressman-elect Blake Moore, who will replace longtime GOP Rep. Rob Bishop, said much the same thing as Curtis. He said that because he has not seen any verified evidence that would change the outcome, he does no plan to object to Utah’s Electoral College certification.

“I will, however, listen to objections that are officially raised by both the House and Senate, and will fulfill my constitutional duty to vote on the tenets of the object,” he said in a statement.

Fox News reported Tuesday that Owens is one of at least 10 GOP freshmen representatives who will back Brooks.

The others are Barry Moore, of Alabama; Marjorie Taylor Greene, of Georgia; Lauren Bobert, of Colorado; Madison Cawthorn, of North Carolina; Yvette Herrell, of New Mexico; Ronny Jackson, of Texas; Bob Good, of Virginia; Jerry Carl, of Alabama; and Andrew Clyde, of Georgia.