Dozens of Alaska Republicans are urging the state’s congressional delegation to oppose certification of the presidential election results on Wednesday.
In an open letter and a private letter endorsed by members of the state’s Republican Central Committee, they say they want Congress to review and audit the results of the presidential election in a handful of states where close margins decided the result. The letters do not question Alaska’s presidential election result, in which Trump won by a wide margin.
Detractors say that if Congress agrees to an audit, it will become the first step in an attempt to overturn the election results and give President Donald Trump another term in office.
Signers of the two letters said they do not think they will overturn the victory of President-elect Joe Biden. They say they want a congressional audit and review to reassure skeptical voters.
U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said on Sunday that she is prepared to accept the results.
U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, did not respond to a direct question on Monday, but his staff said he still stands by a statement made on Dec. 14, which said the election results were not what he hoped for, “But ultimately as a U.S. Senator, my oath and fidelity are to the Constitution and the laws of our nation, which include the orderly transfer of power — one of the most sacred elements of our great constitutional republic—and the Electoral College process that took place today.”
Staff for U.S. Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, did not answer emails and texts asking about the congressman’s position, but on Sunday, he delivered a speech on the House floor calling for members of Congress to work together across party lines. Young was among the first Republican House members to acknowledge Biden’s victory in November.
William Deaton of Cordova is a 19-year-old college student who wrote the letters asking state Republican Party chairman Glenn Clary to issue a statement on behalf of the party.
A congressional audit would be extraordinary but worthwhile, Deaton said. It hasn’t happened since 1877.
“Let’s have an audit of this election because millions of Americans, mostly Republicans, believe that this election was not free of fraud, and that it was stolen from President Trump,” Deaton said. “And Congress can put by the integrity and the trust into our electoral system if they do an audit.”
Deaton’s open letter has been signed by more than 400 people, and the private letter was endorsed by dozens of Republicans, including former party chairman Tuckerman Babcock and district leaders from across the state. Deaton declined to share the full text of that second letter, though excerpts have been posted online.
“I think that the American people are owed at least a serious, thoughtful, nonpartisan investigation, and I don’t see that happening,” said Bruce Schulte, the Republican district chairman for House District 24, which covers Anchorage from Campbell Lake southeast to the Seward Highway.
The election results from Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and other closely-fought states have all been audited at a statewide level, with no widespread fraud discovered. Dozens of election-related lawsuits have been dismissed for lack of standing or other issues.
Schulte and Deaton said that if a court (or Congress) was willing to hear evidence, it might come to a different conclusion.
On Saturday, Trump urged Georgia’s secretary of state to “find” him enough votes to win the election in that state.
“I can’t defend anything Trump says. I mean, he’s a goober,” Schulte said.
But regardless of his personal feelings, Schulte said the issues involved go beyond Trump right now, to whether Americans believe in their elections or not.
Judy Eledge is president of the Anchorage Republican Women’s Club and was one of Alaska’s three Electoral College voters this year. She signed the private letter as well.
“I believe that we, as the Republican Party of Alaska, should make a statement and join the people,” she said. “I don’t think that we think we’re going to overturn the election, but we have a right in the Constitution to question the electors that were elected.”
“I mean, we really, really feel like this is a war that is worth fighting,” she said.
If Alaska challenges another state’s results, could they do the same here?
“Go ahead. Go ahead. You know what? I don’t care. If you did something fair and square, why should you be afraid of a challenge?” she said.
David Ramseur is a member of the steering committee of Alaskans for Biden-Harris and the group’s spokesperson.
“We think that President-elect Biden is taking the responsible position by ignoring this sideshow. It’s just a distraction,” he said.
Are challengers trying to overturn the result?
“I think some of the proponents of this effort would like to try to do that,” Ramseur said.
“I think that’s their ultimate goal. They’re still sort of hanging on to Donald Trump’s coattails, hoping there’ll be some sort of miracle that takes place that puts him back in the White House for four years,” he said.
The real problem, Ramseur said, is that election opponents are taking away from time that Congress and the nation could be using to consider other issues, including the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.