Third, it’s disappointing, to say the least, that more Republicans — in particular, more Republican senators — haven’t acknowledged that Biden won the election. But that reticence is unlikely to persist, and even if it does, it won’t affect the outcome.
That’s because Biden has passed a magic number — not 270, but 50: that is, 50 votes in the Senate to officially declare him the winner when Congress meets in a special joint session on Jan. 6.
The number is 50, not 51, because one of the two Georgia Senate seats will be empty on Jan. 6 — the runoff to fill that seat is being held just the day before. The other Georgia Senate seat, although also in a runoff, involves a special election for an unexpired term; as a result, Sen. Kelly Loeffler will still be a sitting senator on Jan. 6.
So, Biden needs 50 of 99 Senate votes for any electoral college question that might arise. Voting that day will be 48 Democrats and 51 Republicans.
That Republican majority shouldn’t be a problem. Four GOP senators have congratulated Biden as president-elect: Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Mitt Romney (Utah) and Ben Sasse (Neb.). Even if Sen. Kamala D. Harris (Calif.) were to recuse herself to avoid voting in favor of her own election as vice president, Biden would have a vote to spare.