By Tyler Buchanan and Ohio Capital Journal

Sen. Rob Portman is rejecting a Congressional effort from fellow Republicans to overturn the presidential election, saying on Monday he “cannot support allowing Congress to thwart the will of the voters.”

Portman’s statement comes two days before members of Congress will meet on Wednesday to count the nation’s electoral votes, which were determined through last November’s election and later officially certified by each state. This is typically a ceremonial gathering, the final Constitutional requirement before the winning candidate is sworn-in as president on Jan. 20.

A group of Republicans in the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives, citing unfounded allegations of voter fraud, have announced plans to vote against the electoral vote certifications for a number of swing states won by Democratic nominee Joe Biden. 

Portman said Monday he would not be joining them.

“(A)fter two months of recounts and legal challenges, not a single state recount changed a result and, of the dozens of lawsuits filed, not one found evidence of fraud or irregularities widespread enough to change the result of the election,” a statement from Portman’s office reads. “This was the finding of numerous Republican-appointed judges and the Trump Administration’s own Department of Justice. Every state has now weighed in and certified its electoral slate based on its vote and the process set out in the Constitution.”

Portman acknowledged that “many Americans believe the election was unfairly decided.” An NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist survey from December found that nearly 75% of Republicans believed the 2020 election results to be inaccurate.

Portman is advocating for a “blue ribbon bipartisan panel on election integrity” to look into “issues” from the 2020 election and make recommendations for future elections. 

His statement mentions there were “instances of fraud and irregularities, as there are in every presidential election,” though it did not name any.

Back in 2016, Portman rescinded his support for Trump after the Access Hollywood tape surfaced in which Trump bragged in 2005 about groping women’s genitals. Portman, who in 2016 was running for reelection to the U.S. Senate, said he would be voting for Mike Pence instead.

Portman reversed again to become an ally of President Trump, even serving as a 2020 campaign co-chair in Ohio for his reelection effort.

Portman’s full statement on the Jan. 6 electoral college count can be read here.

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