Republicans in Pennsylvania’s GOP-controlled state Senate refused to seat a Democrat senator-elect on Tuesday and even booted the state’s Democratic lieutenant governor from the chamber over concerns about voter fraud in the state.
State Republicans argued that Democrat Jim Brewster did not lawfully win his race against Republican opponent Nicole Ziccarelli. So when it was time for Brewster to be sworn in, Republican lawmakers intervened and refused to allow him to take the oath of office.
“There’s nothing about this day that is appropriate,” one state senator yelled. “Nothing!”
Lt. Gov. John Fetterman was presiding over the chamber and protested against the GOP’s move while trying to move forward with Brewster’s swearing in. Republicans responded in turn and passed a motion to remove Fetterman from the chair.
But when Fetterman refused to leave, Republicans were forced to take over leadership and speak over him.
Eventually, Brewster withdrew.
“I wanted the rest of the senators with their families there, and in some cases their children there, to be sworn in,” Brewster told KDKA-TV.
“I was disappointed and flabbergasted that they removed the lieutenant governor,” Brewster said. “I think that is a move that went too far.”
Pennsylvania Republicans argued the legislature should throw out ballots that omitted a handwritten date, which would put Ziccarelli ahead of Brewster.
However, the state Supreme Court previously rejected Ziccarelli’s attempts to contest the election results.
Fetterman accused Republicans of “raw partisanship” and urged the state legislature to move forward with Brewster’s swearing-in at a later date.
“This idea that one’s party is allowed to pick the winner, despite evidence to the contrary, is toxic and corrosive, and that is what you saw play out on the floor of the Senate today,” he said.
But Republicans insisted that Brewster would not be seated in the chamber until the legislature could guarantee “properly elected representation.”
“While we work to resolve this issue expeditiously we … are confident a brief delay in filling the seat for the 45th Senate District will not affect the balance of power in the Senate,” Republican state Sen. Jake Corman said in a statement.