Sen. Cotton Won’t Join “Dirty Dozen”

By Claire Hardwick

A dozen Senate Republicans joined Senator Hawley’s promised effort to object to the electoral college vote on Wednesday, and force a debate. As Hawley’s commitment to “election integrity” has been viewed as a political play to take over Trump’s base, Senator Cotton has promised his voters he won’t be part of the partisan game. 

Cotton, who also has his eyes on the Oval Office, has distanced himself from what has been named the “dirty dozen.” These senators include Senator-elect Lummis from Wyoming, Senator Lankford from Oklahoma, Senator Ted Cruz from Texas, Senator Marshall from Kansas, Senator Hagerty from Tennessee, Senator Tuberville from Alabama, Senator Daines from Montaina, Senator Kennedy from Louisiana, Senator Blackburn from Tennessee and Senator Johnson from Wisconsin 

Senator Hawley and Senator Cruz both have their eyes on a 2024 campaign for the White House, and Senator Lankford, Johnson, and Kennedy are up for reelection in 2022. In a joint-statement, the senators said this election had “unprecedented allegations of voter fraud.” They, however, did not mention the 60 plus lawsuits that have been thrown out by state and federal courts that would prove this fraud to be true. 

But while this Machiavellian pursuit is obvious for Cruz and Hawley, Cotton is rising above this objection. In a statement, Cotton said, “I share the concerns of many Arkansans about irregularities in the presidential election, especially in states that rushed through election-law changes to relax standards for voting-by-mail. I also share their disappointment with the election results. I therefore support a commission to study the last election and propose reforms to protect the integrity of our elections.” Cotton, however, said he will not object to the electoral college confirmation vote on January 6th. 

President Trump and his base have called for individuals to primary any Republican who does not support the “dirty dozens” objection to the vote. Trump has called for Governor Noem to run against Senator Thune, for example. In general, Trump has made it clear that those who don’t stand with him are against him, and he wants to put pressure on candidates who don’t help him overturn the election results. 

Why this matters: The electoral college objection is nothing but optics. The votes are already there to confirm the electoral college vote. What it shows is the Republican senators’ fear of President Trump and political retribution. But as Trump prepares to leave the White House, it is a far-stretch for these senators to expect Trump to have the same influence on voters that he did while a candidate in 2016 and in 2020. The Tuesday Georgia election will also prove once again just how far Trump’s influence actually goes for elections, and the power he claims to have over the GOP. The importance of Cotton’s refusal to join the “Dirty Dozen” should serve as an example to politicians that you don’t have to sacrifice your principles for political gains.