Oklahoma’s Congressional delegation have all spoken out, to varying degrees, about the apparent election of Joe Biden as President.
But none more so than Rep. Markwayne Mullin.
Mullin, a Republican from Westville, has commented on social media at least seven times since election day, posting videos in which he says the “Democrat machine is stealing this election from the American people,” and using hashtags like #StopTheSteal.
Media outlets across the country on Saturday called the race for Biden, though states have not finished certifying their vote counts and current President Donald Trump has begun a legal battle that has so far returned no fruit. As of Monday Biden had secured 279 electoral votes, and depending on the outcome of possible recounts in Arizona and Georgia, could surpass Trump’s 2016 electoral vote number.
And while, perhaps unsurprisingly, most of Oklahoma’s Congressional delegation has stood behind Trump (though some more vociferously than others) as the drama continues to play out, Mullin has been the loudest.
Mullin posted a video Sunday night to Twitter where he said he knew “there has been illegal activity happening during this election.”
Like Trump, he offered no evidence of the illegal activity, and confusingly chastised the “news media” for projecting Biden as the winner, a standard practice media companies have done for decades when vote totals appear insurmountable.
On Nov. 5, Mullin tweeted “How do we know they’re not stealing the election if we’re not allowed to see them count the votes?” in an apparent reference to vote counting in Pennsylvania, where Biden rode a heavy percentage of absentee ballots to overtake Trump in the state that ultimately pushed him over the 270 electoral votes needed to win. In fact, both parties had dozens of representatives watching the votes being tallied.
A judge did rule in favor of one Trump lawsuit — that poll watchers be granted closer access to the counting of mail-in ballots. Watchers were previously held 20 feet away as a COVID-19 restriction, but a state judge ruled that watchers from both parties could be within six feet of counting.
Mullin complained on Twitter that Trump won in-person voting in both Pennsylvania and Georgia, but saw his lead evaporate once mail-in ballots were counted.
“Something doesn’t add up,” Mullin said in a video.
More than 2 million people voted by mail in Pennsylvania, the majority of them for Biden. Trump, in the months leading up to the election, often cast doubt on the reliability of mail-in voting, though many states saw a surge in absentee ballot requests, likely owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
While Democrat strategists worried an increase in mail-in voting by their party could lead to more votes being thrown out, due to mistakes in filling out the ballot, Republicans worried Trump’s rhetoric would depress their party’s votes in key battleground states Trump — and down-ballot Republicans — would need to secure on election night.
“I fully support President Trump as he continues to fight for every legal vote to be counted,” Mullin tweeted on Nov. 7. Mullin’s office did not respond to a request by The Frontier for further comment.
Sen. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma, has been less contentious than Mullin, but has echoed some of his sentiments.
Two days after election day, Lankford criticized a handful of states for not tabulating all their votes on election night — something states with large amounts of votes rarely do.
“Oklahoma can count our ballots in five hours, with a record setting election turn out but PA, NC, NV, AZ and GA cannot even figure out how many ballots they have left to count after three days,” Lankford said on Facebook. “We haven’t seen slow counting and extra ballots showing up in heavy Trump precincts, only in Democratic heavy precincts…. Trust, but verify.”
Oklahoma law allows for early voting figures to be tabulated prior to polls closing on election day, something not every state allows.
Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Oklahoma, has not commented on the election day results; instead posting mostly about a Tulsa Police Department officer who recently returned to work after being shot in the head earlier this year.
However, Inhofe, who did not respond to a request for comment Monday, did tell The Frontier on election day that he felt there was “too much discussion” leading up to Nov. 3 about absentee vote reliability.
He praised the early voting figures that had come in by the morning of Nov. 3, saying that the country would “set records” and saying that enthusiasm for Trump, which he said was at a level he’d never before seen, was at least partially responsible.
Asked if he was worried the absentee vote count would favor Biden, he said “no.”
“I think it will be pretty representative,” he said Nov. 3. “We’ll find out.”
Rep. Kevin Hern, a Tulsa Republican who has closely identified with Trump since his election, was subdued on social media, saying that while “every legal vote must be counted,” his team had “been on the ground.” in Pennsylvania.
“Our country has held elections for over 200 years,” Hern said on Facebook.
“The process works, but only if it’s done legally.”
Hern’s office did respond to a request for further comment.
Rep. Tom Cole, whose office declined further comment, said on Facebook on Saturday that Trump has “every right to exhaust every option to ensure an accurate outcome for the American people.”
And, he said, that while the race was close in several key states, he was “confident in the U.S. election system – a system that provides mechanisms in every state for requesting a recount or raising other concerns related to official results.”
Rep. Frank Lucas said in a Twitter thread last week that “we must have faith in our voting process.”
“All legal ballots cast will be counted under authority of state laws, and if irregularities are alleged, they will be resolved in the courts- as is legally appropriate,” Lucas said on Twitter. “At the end of the day, we all must respect the outcome of our elections. The American people must have confidence in our government and trust the American electoral system.”
Rep. Kendra Horn, the lone Democrat among Oklahoma’s Congressional delegation, said on Twitter on Monday that “there’s no excuse for undermining democracy.”
“The election is over. Experts and news outlets on both sides have examined the results & declared Biden the winner. Instead of trying to spin and divide us, we should look for common ground for newly elected officials to work together,” she said.
Horn lost her reelection bid to Republican state senator Stephanie Bice. Bice was one of several Republican female candidates who won on election day, helping Republicans hold onto the Senate and chip away at the Democrat majority in the House of Representatives.
Bice has not yet commented on the Presidential election but has instead focused on Republicans’ strong down-ballot success, and talked about improving healthcare and access to public education in Oklahoma.