Pennsylvania governor recalls nominee due to 'Donald Trump's fantasy' about 2020 voting irregularities
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said he would recall his Senate nomination for secretary of the commonwealth due to the "bad faith" actions by Republicans attempting to audit the 2020 presidential election results.
Wolf decided to pull Veronica Degraffenreid's nomination as a result of the Senate Republicans' "capitulat[ing] to Donald Trump's fantasy that the 2020 election experienced irregularities that changed the outcome in Pennsylvania," arguing the chamber is incapable of holding impartial hearings on the nominee.
"It is clear that instead of providing advice and consent on my nominee for Secretary of the Commonwealth, they instead plan on using her confirmation as an opportunity to descend further into conspiracy theories and work to please the former president [Donald Trump] by spreading lies about last year's election, instead of working together to address real issues facing Pennsylvanians," Wolf said in a statement on Monday.
The governor said that based on the Senate Republican majority's pursuit of the former president's claims of fraud during the 2020 election, "it is clear that Veronica Degraffenreid will not receive a fair hearing from this Senate on her merits."
Republican Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman responded by saying the caucus members "are under no obligation to honor that request" to recall the acting secretary's nomination.
"The acting secretary's threats against counties and her refusal to participate in bipartisan election hearings will be considered by the Senate Republican Caucus as we plan how to proceed with her nomination," Corman added.
Wolf added in his statement that there were no irregularities and no fraud in the election, a statement that has been backed by the Trump administration's Justice Department. President Joe Biden won Pennsylvania against former President Donald Trump by just over 80,000 votes, although some GOP lawmakers have pushed for an election review, echoing Trump's claims of voting irregularities despite officials' assurances that the election was secure.
The Intergovernmental Operations Committee for the state Senate will convene on Wednesday at the insistence of Corman to vote on whether it should subpoena the State Department for documents and testimony regarding election administration practices.
Corman has blamed the department, led by former Secretary Kathy Boockvar until February, for giving contradictory and confusing guidance to county officials in the buildup to the election that caused a disparate application of rules across Pennsylvania.
"We have the constitutional responsibility to provide advice and consent, not to be a rubber stamp for the administration," Corman said. "There would not be a need for many of these hearings if they did their jobs fairly and honestly."
In July, voting machines in Pennsylvania's Fulton County were decertified after local officials complied with a Republican-backed audit and permitted a third-party contractor to access data. Degraffenreid concluded the ballot hardware was "compromised," adding that the "actions were taken in a manner that was not transparent."
Threats of subpoenas to the department follow months of internal debate about how to commence an Arizona-style forensic audit in Pennsylvania, a move that was led by Arizona Senate President Karen Fann in February to ensure the election was managed properly in the state's populous Maricopa County.
The election review in the Grand Canyon State, which has been criticized by Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and members of the mostly Republican Maricopa County Board of Supervisors as a partisan endeavor, could produce a full draft report this week.
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