All four members served in leadership positions in the Idaho Legislature early in their political careers and all were sensitive about any level of federal interference in Idaho’s business. I can only imagine the steam that would come from their nostrils if a member of Congress from the east claimed that Idaho was running crooked presidential elections.
Mike Simpson, Jim Risch and Mike Crapo – as I knew them during their days in the Idaho Legislature – would quickly tell that eastern member of Congress to mind his/her own business. Simpson and Risch, especially, might use some salty language to make their point.
So, it was no surprise when they stayed far away from objecting the presidential election results, and micro-managing other states in their election operations. Joe Biden’s victory over President Trump was certified in all 50 states and that was good enough for them.
“To overturn the results of the Electoral College would be to undermine a body that gives a voice to small states like Idaho,” said Simpson, a former Idaho House speaker. “Objecting to the Electoral College returns is also a step toward the federalization of elections, something that would be devasting for Idaho. Ultimately, Congress’ role in presidential elections, as wisely envisioned by the Founding Fathers, is to count the electors that are chosen by the states, not to judge the merits of these electors.”
Crapo, a former pro-tem of the Idaho Senate, expressed a similar sentiment. “Through the Electoral College, the election of the president is entrusted to the states, not to Congress. Any effort by Congress to abandon the Electoral College’s constitutional significance for states to certify and send their electors would be a dangerous precedent I cannot support.”
Risch, who has chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee had an especially close working relationship with Trump, declined to object.
The odd duck of Idaho’s delegation was First District Congressman Russ Fulcher, who joined with dozens of other House Republicans in objecting to the national election results. He thinks his objections were justified on constitutional grounds, without passing judgment on the other three members of the delegation.
“I get what they are saying, I know where they are coming from and I respect their views,” Fulcher says. “The Constitution says that only state legislators have the right to change election laws and a minimum of six states broke their own laws. Either the executive or judicial branches usurped the power of the legislators, with most allowing for mass-mail ballots.”
Political commentators have had a field day hammering Fulcher with his stance, without taking into consideration the district he represents. In this Trump-heavy conservative district – where at least a fair number of his constituents think the election was stolen from Trump – Fulcher would be in deep trouble if he failed to object. If Fulcher had voted for impeachment, you’d see recall petitions spewing from the First District.
Fulcher says his end goal was not to overturn the election and give Trump four more years in office – an endeavor that he says would be “unrealistic.” His goal was to outline the nature of his objection, with hope that offending states would make appropriate corrections.
Since Fulcher is not on the judiciary committee, he would not be involved with election reform even in the unlikely event that Nancy Pelosi’s House would take up the issue. Risch and Crapo say they will keep trying on the Senate side.
“The business we conducted showed there is a deep distrust in the integrity and veracity of our elections. We need to restore American’s faith in our voting process,” said Risch.
“It is past time that this country thoroughly examine the election process, especially in states where the allegations of fraud are the strongest, undercover the facts, and develop reforms that make our election process trustworthy,” says Crapo. “I support the establishment of a commission to study the last election and recommend meaningful reforms to protect the integrity of our elections.”
We’ll see where all this goes. But with Democrats now in charge in the Senate, I doubt if election fraud is on Sen. Chuck Schumer’s list of priorities.
Chuck Malloy is a long-time Idaho journalist and columnist. He may be reached at email@example.com