All signs point to Democrat Joe Biden occupying the White House for the next four years as the 46th president of the United States.
The U.S. Supreme Court dismissed a lawsuit Friday seeking to overturn Biden’s victory, and despite repeated but disputed claims by Republican President Donald Trump that Trump is the real winner, the Electoral College is expected to make the Biden presidency official Monday.
Some Republican Party leaders in New Mexico aren’t ready to declare Biden the president just yet.
Rep. Rachel Black of Alamogordo is convinced Trump won the election.
“I don’t think he actually won,” she said, referring to Biden. “There’s too much up in the air. A lot of things don’t jive in my mind.”
“I’ve heard from constituents across the state that have said that they didn’t feel like their vote was counted correctly,” she said. “It didn’t seem like Biden was doing much campaigning in New Mexico. I mean, there was Trump signs everywhere. It just didn’t seem like there was as much support for Biden in New Mexico that would have, you know, caused him to win.”
Asked whether he believed Biden won the election, the Senate minority whip, Sen. Craig Brandt of Rio Rancho, said the country will find out after Monday’s Electoral College vote.
“Contrary to everyone’s belief, we are not a democracy. We are a republic, and as a republic, our system is set up very different than a straight democracy where people just vote,” he said. “I think the likelihood that Biden is actually the president or going to be the president in January is very high. But we do have to let the system play out.”
Rep. Martin Zamora of Clovis declined to answer whether he believed Biden won the presidency.
“I feel like hanging up on you,” he said, jokingly.
Zamora said the “bad part” is that there are lingering questions about the integrity of the election.
“To me, what’s important is to investigate it and find out what the facts are,” he said. “I don’t think we ought to be living on speculation. We live in a country that’s better than that, and what we’re after as individuals is the truth and the facts and find out if there is any fraud. What’s wrong with an investigation if we’re looking for the truth?”
Democratic Speaker of the House Brian Egolf said Republicans aren’t expressing doubts about the integrity of the election but advancing a political narrative meant to undermine people’s confidence in democracy.
“They are petrified of Donald Trump and his followers, and they don’t care about shredding the Constitution to try to avoid angry people in the next primary that they have to run in,” he said.
Egolf said he didn’t have the words to express how disappointed he is in his Republican colleagues.
“Any elected Republican that is not speaking up right now is complicit in an effort to make Donald Trump a dictator,” he said. “I mean, the Texas lawsuit was an absurd, seditious effort to overturn the election.”
The House minority leader, Rep. Jim Townsend of Artesia, said he believed the votes that were tallied indicated that Biden won the presidency.
“I do question the validity of many of those ballots,” he said.
“If we lose the belief that our votes are valid and that they mean something, we’re in for a real rude awakening in our country,” Townsend added. “Then it becomes who can cheat the best and that’s not good for our country, so I think we all have to work hard to make sure that the ballot that is cast is the one that’s counted.”
Before the U.S. Supreme Court threw out the lawsuit late Friday, Sen. Cliff Pirtle of Roswell said he supported an audit of the election.
“I don’t think it’s, ‘Hey, we want to overturn the election,’ ”
he said. “But we do need to find out if other states operated legally within their own state law in the bounds of their statutes, and I want to know if a lot of this mail-in voting was done by people who were supposed to be voting or was there more fraud than anticipated.”
Pirtle also said it was still unclear whether Biden won the presidency.
“Until we have an audit of the ballots,” he said, “I think it’s hard to believe anything at this point in time.”
Sen. Greg Baca of Belen, the new Senate minority leader, declined to say whether he believed Biden beat Trump.
“Well, we’re going to find out soon enough, aren’t we?” he said. “I’m not going to make speculations like that.”
U.S. Rep.-elect Yvette Herrell, who beat incumbent Democrat Xochitl Torres Small, did not return a message seeking comment. The Democratic Party of New Mexico criticized Herrell for her silence “as conservative allies continue to dismiss [the] 2020 election results.”
“Republicans’ attacks on legitimate electoral processes are dangerous and irresponsible, and it’s time for Yvette Herrell to make it clear if she agrees with them,” Marg Elliston, the Democratic Party chairwoman, said in a statement. “The people of southern New Mexico deserve to know if their Congresswoman-elect supports these unsubstantiated attempts to undermine our democracy, even as she accepts her own victory as legitimate.”
Of several Republican lawmakers interviewed Friday, only Sen. James White said he believed Biden to be the winner.
But White acknowledged others don’t share the same belief.
“That’s always going to be the case, no matter who wins,” said White, who lost reelection in the June primary. “The loser always thinks that they got cheated.”