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Maryland Rep. Andy Harris plans to challenge Biden’s Electoral College victory, defends Trump call with Georgia

U.S. Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland said he plans to join a group of House Republicans objecting to Democratic President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory when Congress meets Wednesday to certify the results.

“I will very likely object to several of the states where I think the outcome is probably in doubt because inadequate investigation has been allowed to occur,” Harris told WBAL-TV.

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Harris, a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump and the only Republican in Maryland’s congressional delegation, also defended Trump’s telephone call Saturday in which the president pressured Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” 11,780 votes — enough to make him the winner.

“The president was asking that efforts be made to see if there were Trump ballots, to find these Trump ballots that may have been either shredded, discarded or eliminated in some way, which, of course, would be an obvious violation of federal law,” Harris told the station.

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Raffensperger, a Republican, disagreed with Trump’s unfounded claims of election fraud. Georgia officials conducted a statewide audit, including a hand count, before certifying the state’s results last month.

Biden was elected with 306 electoral votes to 232 for Trump, who refuses to concede. While states certify their own results, it is left to Congress on Wednesday to formally accept the vote submissions.

While that is usually a perfunctory step, Harris and other Republicans in the House and Senate have indicated they will object to vote counts in a half-dozen swing states, forcing what could be a lengthy series of debates.

Neither Harris nor spokesman Walter Smoloski responded to inquiries from The Baltimore Sun this week about the congressman’s plans.

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Harris, whose district includes parts of Carroll, Harford and Baltimore counties, as well as the Eastern Shore, told WBAL-TV that he expected to address “the fraud that occurred in Nevada, where you have thousands of voters who voted — and remember, the election in Nevada is very specific, you have to have a residence. There were 8,000 individuals who voted who had no residence.”

Voter fraud claims in Nevada have been debunked by the state’s attorney general, a Democrat. Nevada certified its election results Nov. 24 after its Republican secretary of state said many fraud complaints “lack any evidence.” The country’s 49 other states also have certified their election results, some after conducting post-election audits.

A dozen GOP senators have said or suggested they would join a group of House Republicans in objecting to finalizing the vote. Many have called for an election audit.

Maryland Republican Gov. Larry Hogan said in a prepared statement Sunday that the “scheme” by some in Congress to challenge Biden’s Electoral College win “makes a mockery of our system and who we are as Americans. Trump and his team have had every opportunity to provide evidence supporting their claims, and they have failed to do so.”

“Whether or not you like the result, the process worked as it always has,” Hogan’s statement said.

Harris told the television station that he “clearly” disagreed with the governor.

“I’m not sure, especially being governor of a state where there is widespread belief that a gubernatorial election now 26 years ago, in fact, was a stolen election,” he said.

In 1994, Republican Ellen R. Sauerbrey alleged voter fraud after losing to Democrat Parris Glendening by 5,993 votes out of more than 1.4 million ballots cast. Her challenge was based on voters in Baltimore who allegedly listed incorrect addresses.

Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Raymond G. Thieme Jr., who said he had voted for Sauerbrey, said her case was flawed by faulty data and unsupported conclusions.

Harris, a Johns Hopkins-trained anesthesiologist, is a member of the conservative Freedom Caucus and was enthusiastically endorsed by Trump in June before winning a sixth term Nov. 3. He promised in 2010 to serve no more than six terms, or 12 years, if elected.

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