Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley waiting to congratulate Joe Biden until Electoral College meets

Sen. Chuck Grassley attends an Oct. 29 campaign rally with Vice President Mike Pence at the Des Moines airport. The Iowa
Sen. Chuck Grassley attends an Oct. 29 campaign rally with Vice President Mike Pence at the Des Moines airport. The Iowa Republican said Thursday he is waiting for the Electoral College to meet Dec. 14 and confirm Joe Biden as president before congratulating his former Senate colleague on his victory. (Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press)

Come Dec. 14, Sen. Chuck Grassley will extend his congratulations to the winner of the presidential race.

“We decide presidents by electors,” the Iowa Republican said Thursday, explaining that he’s withholding acknowledgment of Joe Biden’s popular vote victory until after the Electoral College meets.

Electors from all 50 states are scheduled to meet Dec. 14 to cast their votes based on the winner of the popular vote in their respective states.

Based on current results, Biden is in line to receive 279 Electoral College votes to President Donald Trump’s 217, which includes Iowa’s six votes. A candidate needs 270 to win.

Not acknowledging Biden as president-elect is not meant as disrespect to his former Senate colleague or American voters, Grassley told reporters.

“But when you’re going through a recount of 5 million votes in Georgia, ... I think it’d be foolish for me to say that he’s got it sewed up,” Grassley said.

He compared the recounts going in Georgia and elsewhere to the George W. Bush-Al Gore race in 2000 where the election results were delayed by recounts and court challenges in Florida.


“I don’t know whether recounting votes is any more complicated than figuring out what’s a hanging chad and what isn’t a hanging chad,” Grassley said of the problem encountered in the 2000 Florida ballots.

Trump is “well within his rights” to seek recounts and to ask courts to review election disputes, “so it isn’t a whole lot different from other candidates have done in the past,” Grassley said.

“Not congratulating Biden,” he added, “isn’t much different from not congratulating Miller-Meeks until that race is decided.”

State Sen. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, R-Ottumwa, has a 47-vote lead in Iowa’s 2nd District U.S. House race. Democrat Rita Hart of Wheatland has asked for a recount in that open-seat race to succeed U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack.

Grassley also said he had “no news” on whether he will seek an eighth six-year term in 2022.

If Republicans retain the Senate majority, Grassley plans to return to the chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee. Grassley handed off that role to Sen. Lindsey Graham for the past two years while he chaired the Finance Committee.

Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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