Michigan GOP legislative leadership still silent on Biden win

By: - November 9, 2020 4:28 pm

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in Grand Rapids, Oct. 2, 2020 | Andrew Roth

Three days after President-elect Joe Biden was declared by major media organizations the winner of the 2020 election, Michigan GOP leadership in both the House and Senate has bucked longstanding tradition and stayed silent about the results.

Their lack of acknowledgement of Biden’s win comes as top Republicans in a joint Elections Oversight Committee launch a legislative investigation — subpoenas included — into vague, unfounded claims of election inconsistencies and misconduct by the state.

In Michigan, Biden beat Trump by 146,119 votes, 51% to 48%. In 2016, Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton by 10,704 votes, a .23% margin of victory.

The Advance contacted the four top Republican lawmakers in each chamber to ask whether they have accepted the election results and, if so, have said so publicly or plan to do so.

Spokespeople for Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) and House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) did not respond to requests for comment.

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Voicemails left for the offices of Senate Majority Floor Leader Peter MacGregor (R-Rockford), Senate Majority Caucus Chair Curtis VanderWall (R-Ludington), House Majority Caucus Chair Eric Leutheuser (R-Hillsdale) and House Majority Caucus Whip Jason Sheppard (R-Temperance) were not returned.

The office of House Majority Floor Leader Triston Cole (R-Mancelona) took the inquiry but has yet to respond with an answer.

Justin Carpenter, legislative aide to Senate Majority Caucus Whip Peter Lucido (R-Shelby Twp.), told the Advance: “I don’t really — I haven’t really talked to [Lucido] about it yet, so I don’t really have an answer for you, I’m sorry.”

When asked if he could get an answer, Carpenter said he could “try” and appeared to hang up the phone.

The social media pages of all eight Republicans are also void of any mention of the presidential election results. Chatfield spokesperson Gideon D’Assandro congratulated Biden on his own Twitter account on Saturday, although not by name.

Chatfield congratulated House Republicans for retaining their majority via Twitter, but did not mention the presidential election results. Leutheuser posted a video on his Facebook page saying that he “100%” shares the concerns of constituents worried about “illegal voting” or other “voting inconsistencies,” but said that the courts will eventually sort it out and did not mention Biden or incumbent President Donald Trump.

Michigan GOP Chair Laura Cox announced Friday that legal teams have been deployed by the party to challenge alleged voting inconsistencies. On Wednesday, Cox tweeted that “if [Biden is] waiting to be declared the victor, he’s going to be waiting forever.”

State Sen. Rosemary Bayer (D-Beverly Hills) told the Advance Monday she is frustrated with Republicans responding to Trump’s loss with baseless accusations and lawsuits.

“It’s a waste of time and money,” Bayer said. “… Everybody’s bummed, everybody’s unhappy, and yet, you buck up and move on.”

“These senators filing these complaints, these lawsuits against the governor, against the Secretary of State. … Every time they do that, the Senate pays for it. Our government pays for them to do this to us. How is this right? And they’re just doing it to make noise, because they know bloody well they’re wrong,” Bayer added.

Bayer noted that the election conditions prompting many Republicans’ complaints were caused by Republican lawmakers themselves, as they refused to take up legislation that would have extended the time during which local clerks could preprocess absentee ballots.

“In the end, we are so confident of the integrity of this election. The numbers bear it out, over and over again. We know that everything is right. So it is time to move on and just get back to work,” she added.

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Laina G. Stebbins
Laina G. Stebbins

Laina G. Stebbins is a former Michigan Advance reporter. A lifelong Michigander, she is a graduate of Michigan State University’s School of Journalism, where she served as Founding Editor of The Tab Michigan State and as a reporter for the Capital News Service.