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Walden joins Republicans who accept Biden win

U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, the Republican from Hood River whose district includes Jackson County, is among just 27 GOP members of Congress who openly admit Democrat Joe Biden has been elected president, according to a survey published Saturday by The Washington Post.

“I think the die is pretty well cast” on who would be president, Walden said Dec. 1 in a National Journal podcast, which the Post used as the basis for adding him to its list.

Walden was among the 70% of the 249 Republicans in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House who did not respond directly to the newspaper’s question of “Who won the election?”

After the Post story was published, President Donald Trump called those who confirmed Biden was president-elect were “RINOs” — a term used for those deemed “Republican in Name Only.”

But the Post reviewed recent public statements and put Walden on the list of 27 accepting Biden as the next president based on podcast interview.

“I think in the end we’ll have a transition here, and you’ll have a new president come January 20,” Walden said. “I don’t see the math where this gets overturned and so far I’ve not seen the evidence of the amount of fraud it would take, or mistakes — and those occur in every election — to overturn the results in any state.”

Most Democrats have suggested Republicans are not speaking out to say Biden won out of fear that an enraged Trump will scuttle the party’s chances in Georgia.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, has not supported Trump’s claims, but has pointedly refused to call Biden “president-elect.” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-CA, has refused to discuss Republican plans for dealing with Biden for the next four years.

“Let’s wait until (we see) who’s sworn in,” McCarthy said, “and we can discuss that.”

Twelve of the 52 Senate Republicans acknowledge Biden’s victory, including Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, Susan Collins of Maine, and Mario Rubio of Florida. Seven of the group are retiring and will not be in the Senate next year.

The Post noted that of the 15 House Republicans who will say Biden won, six are retiring and two represent districts Biden won handily.

Walden, who did not run for re-election and will leave Congress after 20 years in office, could not be reached for comment Saturday. Former state senator Cliff Bentz, a Republican from Ontario, was elected in November to succeed Walden, also could not be reached for comment.

Walden is the only Republican in Oregon’s delegation of two U.S. Senators and five members of the U.S. House.

Biden won states with 306 electoral votes, easily more than the 270 needed. He leads Trump by more than 7 million in the popular vote.

President Trump has made an unprecedented attempt to overturn the election result, making unsubstantiated claims of massive voter fraud. He’s lost dozens of court decisions trying to stop ballots from being certified, lobbying election officials to set aside results, then attacking them when they declined his demands.

The Electoral College votes on Dec. 14, then the ballots are sent to Congress for review. Trump is challenging these usually pro-forma steps in the election process.

The election ended with Republicans holding a 50-48 majority in the U.S. Senate. Two seats from Georgia will be decided in a run-off on Jan. 5. If Republicans win one or both of the seats, they will retain control of the chamber.

If Democrats win both seats, the Senate would be tied 50-50, with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, a Democrat, breaking any ties as President of the Senate.

Greg Walden (Photo by The Associated Press)