Only one GOP House member from Southern Illinois has announced plans to object Wednesday when Congress counts electoral votes certifying Joe Biden as president. The two others have remained silent.
Freshman U.S. Rep. Mary Miller, a Republican from Oakland, said she will challenge the results out of loyalty to outgoing President Donald Trump, but did not offer any evidence to support her belief that the election was "tainted."
Neither of Miller's Republican colleagues from Southern Illinois — U.S. Reps. Mike Bost of Murphysboro or Rodney Davis of Taylorville — responded to requests for comment Tuesday. Both have said previously the election results should be respected.
The U.S. Supreme Court, Justice Department, judges, election authorities and the Department of Homeland Security have all verified the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election, as have governors and other elected officials. Objections to the results will almost certainly have no effect on Biden taking office as expected on Jan. 20.
On Dec. 8, prior to this latest attempt to challenge the election, Bost said: "At a time of great uncertainty for our country, it is vitally important that the American people have faith in our elections and trust the results."
Later that week, Bost signed onto a legal brief to support a lawsuit challenging the results, a suit the U.S. Supreme Court rejected. It was one of 59 court cases that failed to reveal any evidence to support Trump's claims of election fraud.
Bost said the Supreme Court is the "final arbiter in cases of election irregularities."
Davis does not plan to object to the results Wednesday, a spokesman for the congressman said. Davis previously said he "fully anticipate(s)" Biden to become president, according to a December interview with Bloomington-Normal NPR affiliate WGLT. He has also said the Electoral College is the final authority in the presidential election.
As many as 140 GOP House members could object to the electoral college results, CNN reported last week.
Southern Illinois and Trump
GOP House members and Trump enjoy reliable support from conservative voters in Illinois' three southernmost congressional districts.
Bost won reelection in the 12th District with more than 60% of the vote, sending him to his fourth term in office. Davis defeated his Democratic challenger by 10 points in a rematch for the 13th District.
But Miller, a farm owner, drew overwhelming support in the 15th District, with over 73% of the vote. The district covers Clinton and Washington counties, parts of Madison and Bond counties and southeastern Illinois.
She replaces U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, who retired this year after 15 terms representing Southern Illinois. Shimkus drew ire from conservative social media when he recognized Biden's win just four days after the election.
Miller has no plans to follow in Shimkus' footsteps when it comes to Trump. The former congressman from Collinsville announced in October 2019 he no longer supported Trump after the president decided to remove troops from Syria.
Trump endorsed Miller in 2020, and she says she plans to "stand with" him.
Bost and Davis have given unwavering allegiance to Trump, including support for legal challenges regarding the election. But they've maintained their silence during the effort to keep him in office since the Supreme Court struck down Trump's attempts.
Miller's first term in Congress is also her first time holding public office. She aligned her campaign with Trump voter values — reducing the size of government, repealing the Affordable Care Act, cutting taxes and regulations, and pursuing policies favorable to agriculture and business.
She gained the favor of conservative political action committees even before Illinois' March 17 primary that weeded out three male challengers. Miller received nearly $165,000 in campaign contributions from PACs prior to the Republican primary, 14 times what the runner up received.
Overall, Miller received $421,852 from 130 PACs in 2019 and 2020. But she received even more money from individual donors. She raised a total of $435,164.76 from 340 individuals, roughly half of them from Illinois.
How redistricting will affect Southern Illinois Republicans
But Miller's seat could be at risk of elimination when Democrats controlling the Illinois General Assembly redraw congressional maps based on the 2020 U.S. Census. The 15th District is among the likeliest to be eliminated because of its dwindling number of constituents. The central and Southern Illinois region lost the 20th District after the 2000 Census and the 19th a decade later because of population declines.
It means Miller could be a one-term House member, or she could challenge another Republican representative depending on how boundaries are set.
Miller's husband, Chris, is a Republican state representative for Illinois' 110th District. He was reelected in November for a second term. They own Miller Brothers Farm in rural central Illinois.