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Majority Congressman Tom Emmer arrives for a meeting of House Republicans at the U.S. Capitol on September 19, 2023.
After the 2020 election, Tom Emmer, the leading Republican candidate for Speaker of the House of Representatives, wrongly said there were “questionable” practices in the 2020 presidential election.
Emmer later signed an amicus brief in support of the latest Texas lawsuit seeking to overturn the results in key swing states.
Although he would vote to certify the results on Jan. 6, 2021, the comments and actions show that Emmer has flirted with some of the same election-denying rhetoric as far-right Republican members of the House.
Speaking to a radio show for the far-right outlet Breitbart News 12 days after the election, Emmer unfoundedly suggested that mail-in ballots may have “skewed” the election against Trump.
“I think you’re going to see the courts, if nothing else, this president is making sure he stays focused and his team stays focused on these questionable election practices,” Emmer said. “We’ll find out — if it’s accurate — how much they skewed the election results in Georgia and elsewhere.”
“I had one of my colleagues tell me in Georgia that where we have voter ID, we’re doing great, when we can’t reasonably ID the voter, they’re killing us,” he added, saying he hoped the state would limit vote by mail in the upcoming January Georgia Senate runoff election.
Emmer has been quieter than many Republicans since the 2020 election. But in interviews and public comments reviewed by CNN’s KFile before the speakership vote, Emmer refused to say Biden won the election and criticized the press for calling the race.
Speaking to local news outlets in early December 2020 – after the results were certified in all swing states – Emmer blasted the press for calling the race for Joe Biden.
“Everyone has the right to count every vote. “Right now we’re in a process where the media wants to announce the race, the media wants to create this situation that they’re the ones who determine when people are done with the process,” Emmer said. “It’s about making sure that everybody — people who voted for Joe Biden, people who voted for Donald Trump, or people who voted for somebody else — that they know that every legitimate vote counts and they have confidence in the result.
“There is a process,” Emer added. “The process is that there is a vote, if there is a question, there is a recount, there is a verification of the signatures. This time around the country, mail-in ballots threw a whole new twist on it. And then if you have specific areas where there is more to do, you have the right to go to court to get a different opinion. That’s all after the process. It will be resolved soon.”
Emmer later defended signing an amicus brief in support of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s lawsuit to void 62 electoral votes in states won by Biden — which would have effectively thrown out Trump’s election. The case was dismissed by the US Supreme Court.
“This memo confirms that the democratic right of state legislatures to make appointments to the Electoral College has been violated in several states,” Emmer said in a statement published in the local St. Cloud Times. “All legitimate votes must be counted and the process must be followed — the integrity of current and future elections depends on that premise, and this suit is part of that process.”
Speaking at a forum on December 17, 2020, Emmer acknowledged that Biden’s victory had been certified by the Electoral College days earlier, but said the process was not yet over and declined to call Biden president-elect when was prompted.
“The media would like to announce the final end of this process. I think some elected officials would like to announce the end of this process, but as someone who participated in a recount myself 10 years ago, I know we have to respect the process whether you agree with it or not,” said Emer. “Because after it’s over, there are people who will stand on one side or the other, and they should all be satisfied that our election was conducted in a fair and transparent manner.”