Most South County GOP legislators signed letter to investigate presidential election results in swing states that voted for Biden

Rep.+David+Gregory+is+pictured+above+meeting+a+constituent+and+her+dog+at+a+September+2020+food+drive+event+he+and+Rep.+Jim+Murphy+co-sponsored+at+Mehlville+High+School.

Photo by Erin Achenbach

Rep. David Gregory is pictured above meeting a constituent and her dog at a September 2020 food drive event he and Rep. Jim Murphy co-sponsored at Mehlville High School.

By Tessa Weinberg, Missouri Independent

Editor’s note: This is the first in a two-part series on the legislators’ call for an investigation. 

More than a month after the Nov. 3 presidential election, over half of Missouri’s Republican state representatives — including the incoming speaker of the House and nearly all South County’s GOP legislators — called on Congress to refuse to certify six battleground states’ electoral college votes unless they investigate their results.

Rep. Justin Hill, a Republican from Lake St. Louis, filed a nonbinding resolution Dec. 10 declaring that the Missouri House has a “lack of faith” in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania or Wisconsin’s presidential election results.

Hill believed lawmakers of those states must call themselves into a special session in order to investigate their respective results and, if necessary, appoint new members of the Electoral College.

All six states’ election results were in favor of President-elect Joe Biden.

Hill’s call was outlined in a letter Dec. 9 to outgoing House Speaker Elijah Haahr, R-Springfield. He was joined by 66 other Republican lawmakers, including incoming House Speaker Rob Vescovo, R-Arnold, along with most of South County’s GOP delegation: Rep. Jim Murphy, R-Oakville, who represents the 94th District; Rep. David Gregory, R-Sunset Hills, the 96th; and Rep. Mary Elizabeth Coleman, R-Arnold, the 97th.

The lone local GOP legislator who did not sign the letter was Rep. Michael O’Donnell of the 95th District, R-Oakville.

Haahr referred Hill’s resolution to the House Special Committee on Government Oversight, which held a hearing Dec. 14.

Because it is a purely symbolic, with no force of law, neither the Senate nor the governor will be involved with Hill’s resolution.

“We are the Show-Me State. Let us demand other states show Missouri that fraud did NOT change the outcome,” Hill’s letter read.

In November, officials from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s division that oversees election security said there had been “no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.”

In early December, then-U.S. Attorney General William Barr announced that the Justice Department has found no evidence of widespread voter fraud, despite President Donald Trump’s repeated, baseless claims otherwise.

Rep. Keri Ingle, a Democrat from Lee’s Summit, said it’s up to those making the allegations to prove them and questioned the weight such a resolution would hold.

“Do you think we have the authority to do that?” Ingle replied to Hill on Twitter. “Do blue states have the ability to call us into special session?”

Missouri’s own electors met Dec. 14 at the Missouri Capitol to cast their votes for the president and vice president, where they were “bound by honor” to vote for the winners of the state’s popular vote, according to a news release from the governor’s office. Trump easily won Missouri’s 10 electoral votes, leading by about 15.4 points over Biden.

Hill’s letter came on the heels of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s lawsuit asking the U.S. Supreme court to invalidate the election results in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, which the U.S. Supreme Court later declined to hear.

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt was among 17 attorneys general who threw their support behind the legal challenge Dec. 13, which claimed that changes to election procedures amid the pandemic violated federal law.

Legal experts told The Texas Tribune that Paxton’s challenge faces an uphill battle, and attorneys general of the states being challenged have said the lawsuit is a “publicity stunt” and “a waste of tax dollars.”

Schmitt met with the president Dec. 10.

House Minority Leader Crystal Quade, D-Springfield, pilloried both Schmitt and the House GOP for seeking to “invalidate the lawful votes of other states in a ludicrous attempt to steal the presidential election for Donald Trump.”

“Their actions cannot be dismissed as mere partisan scheming and are dangerous to the integrity of our entire system of government,” Quade said. “This is insanity on a fast track to dystopian nightmare.”