A few bits and pieces, on the penultimate day of 2020:
- Yesterday the Republican who had just won election to the House from the Louisiana 5th, 41-year-old Luke Letlow, died from COVID-19. That makes him the first member of Congress (broadly construed, since he was days away from being sworn in) to pass away from the disease. He had been hospitalized a week before Christmas, less than two weeks after he actually won election. I hadn’t noticed this race until his death, but under Louisiana’s ‘jungle general’ system there was actually a runoff in early December; however it was between Letlow and another Republican (in the general the various Republican candidates garnered over 68% of the vote).
- Pelosi has confirmed that she will provisionally seat the Republican candidate who appears to have prevailed in the Iowa 3rd by 6 votes, notwithstanding the fact that the Democratic challenger will continue to have her appeal heard by the House Administration Committee.
- The latest results in the New York 22nd have the Republican challenger up by 29 votes, but there are still hundreds of votes that will be submitted to a judge for potential further inclusion in the tally.
- A supplemental legal filing in the Gohmert v. Pence lawsuit, regarding the Vice-President’s role regarding the counting of electoral votes, appears to indicate that the reason Gohmert has needed to sue Pence is that Pence (quite appropriately) refused to sign on to Gohmert et al’s absurd interpretation of the 12th Amendment.
- Trump continues to attack Georgia Republican politicians that he had previously endorsed, today calling for Governor Kemp to resign, calling him “an obstructionist who refuses to admit that we won Georgia.” Trump’s renewed frustration with Kemp comes in the wake of yesterday’s news that Georgia had completed a signature audit of over 15,000 mail-in votes from Cobb County, finding none that were fraudulent and only two for which the signature on the envelope did not match voter registration records, suggesting an accuracy rate of 99.99% in election officials’ process for validating mail-in votes before they were counted.
- Trump has appealed the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s recent unfavorable ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court. The core argument Trump is making is that Wisconsin election officials, in taking actions not explicitly approved by the Wisconsin legislature to allow certain types of voters to cast absentee ballots, violated Article II of the U.S. Constitution with the result that Wisconsin has “failed to make a choice,” which would then allow the (Republican-controlled) Wisconsin legislature to submit its own set of electors. If Wisconsin were the tipping point state for the Presidential election, this case might be of greater interest.
- The tight margins in both the House and Senate have surely impacted Biden’s thinking in selecting his Cabinet. No Senators have been selected to date, despite many of the leading Democratic presidential primary candidates being in the Senate (Klobuchar, Sanders, Warren). Harris’ post-inauguration replacement as the junior senator from California has been named by the Democratic Governor: Alex Padilla, who will be the first Latino senator from California. Three sitting House members have been named to Biden Administration posts, but they all represent safe Democratic districts: Louisiana 2nd (Richmond, to a White House post), which was gerrymandered to be the only Democratic-leaning district in the state; New Mexico 1st (Haaland, for Interior), which went 60-37 for Biden; and Ohio 11th (Fudge, for HUD), which went 80-20 for Biden.