Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., may have kept many Republicans from raising an objection to the Electoral College vote after he declined to join them, leading members of the GOP told the Washington Examiner.
The senator, one of President Donald Trump’s closest allies in the Senate, released a statement on the Sunday before Congress met to certify the vote saying that only “the states” had the power to determine the outcome, not Congress.
Cotton “played a very important role, especially as people were starting to waver a little bit or reevaluate their position,” said Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., the Senate majority whip.
“His statement was very strong,” added Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., who chairs the Republican conference. “It came at a critical moment.”
Cotton said in his statement: “the Founders entrusted our elections chiefly to the states — not Congress. … Congress’s power is limited to counting electoral votes submitted by the states. If Congress purported to overturn the results of the Electoral College, it would not only exceed that power, but also establish unwise precedents. … Thus, I will not oppose the counting of certified electoral votes on January 6.”
Thune said that Cotton “added tremendous validation to the argument many of us were making. He made it more comfortable for people to land on that position.”