WASHINGTON — After an afternoon of unprecedented chaos in the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday that turned into an evening of solemn debate on the basic principles of American democracy, Florida’s two Republican U.S. senators split on a vote to decertify Pennsylvania’s electoral college results early Thursday morning.
Sen. Marco Rubio voted against decertifying the results, joining 93 of his colleagues in the U.S. Senate. But Sen. Rick Scott was one of seven Republican senators to vote in favor of decertifying the results, hours after voting the opposite way in a similar vote regarding Arizona’s electors.
Scott said in an earlier statement that he would “likely” object to Pennsylvania’s electors, but that was before the U.S. Capitol became the scene of a violent riot where at least one person was killed. Some Republican lawmakers, particularly in the U.S. Senate, switched positions in light of Wednesday’s violence.
Miami’s two Republicans in the House of Representatives — Reps. Carlos Gimenez and Mario Diaz-Balart — voted in favor of decertifying Arizona’s electors late Wednesday night.
“I have become convinced that the electors in some states were selected in an unconstitutional manner,” Diaz-Balart said in a statement, though he acknowledged that Joe Biden will be sworn in as president on Jan. 20. “I simply cannot vote to uphold a slate of electors under those circumstances.”
Rep.-elect Maria Elvira Salazar, who hasn’t been sworn in after testing positive for COVID, did not reveal her position even though she cannot vote.
The two Florida Republicans to vote against decertifying Arizona’s electors were Reps. Vern Buchanan and Michael Waltz. Republican Rep. Gus Bilirakis did not vote. Bilirakis announced a positive COVID test on Wednesday and said he was quarantining.
All Democrats present voted against decertifying the electors. In the final vote, 122 lawmakers, all Republican, were in favor of decertifying, while 303 lawmakers, including 82 Republicans, were against decertifying.
Florida Reps. Matt Gaetz and Brian Mast spoke in favor of overturning Arizona’s electors on the House floor ahead of the vote. Gaetz’s speech defending the president drew groans from Democrats after he said some of the rioters who breached the Capitol on Tuesday were left-wing agitators and not Trump supporters.
The push to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s victory will be unsuccessful. But the debate in the Capitol — and the unruly occupation of the building by thousands of Trump’s angry supporters that included the death of one woman in the Capitol — displayed the extent to which the president’s refusal to concede to Biden has divided his own party and the country.
Want breaking news in your inbox?
Subscribe to our free News Alerts newsletter
You’re all signed up!
Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.Explore all your options
As the House finished its vote on Wednesday, with the prospect of future challenges beyond Arizona uncertain, the glass window door of the House of Representatives remained shattered after rioters engaged in an armed standoff with police eight hours earlier.
“The voters, the courts and the states have all spoken,” said Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who urged his colleagues to accept the results. “If we overrule them, it would damage our Republic forever.”
Tampa Bay Times elections coverage
SIGN UP FOR TEXT MESSAGES WITH CONTEXT 2020: Ask questions and get post-election news updates from political editor Steve Contorno and the staff of the Tampa Bay Times.
ELECTION RESULTS — FLORIDA AND TAMPA BAY: See all races, statewide and in Hillsborough, Pinellas and other Tampa Bay counties.
We’re working hard to bring you the latest news on the elections in Florida. This effort takes a lot of resources to gather and update. If you haven’t already subscribed, please consider buying a print or digital subscription. Or click here to make a donation to the Tampa Bay Times Journalism Fund.