The ringleader of the effort in the House, Representative Mo Brooks, Republican of Alabama, wrote on Twitter that 36 House Republicans had already agreed to sign onto objections to all six battleground states under discussion.
“GOP House Members are FIGHTING for honest & accurate elections!” he wrote. “Senate: HELP!”
Instead, more Republican senators came out on Tuesday against attempts to undermine the results, bringing the total proportion that will vote to finalize the results as cast to about half of their Senate contingent. The number was expected to be closer to two-thirds when the roll was called on Wednesday. Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader who had discouraged senators from objecting, planned to claim the first speaking slot after Mr. Cruz’s objection, according to a person familiar with his thinking, setting the tone for the day.
Those senators who were preparing to object largely avoided the extreme language coming from Mr. Trump and House allies. For instance, Mr. Cruz, a possible 2024 presidential candidate, cast his objection not as an attempt to overturn the election results but to draw attention to a futile call to create an independent commission to audit election results.
“We are going to vote to object to the electors, not to set aside the election — I don’t think that would actually be the right thing to do — but rather to press for the appointment of an electoral commission that can hear the claims of voter fraud, hear the evidence and make a determination as to what the facts are and the extent to which the law was complied with,” Mr. Cruz said Monday evening in an interview with the conservative radio host Mark Levin.
Many of his Senate colleagues were unpersuaded.
“Voting to object to the electoral process without a constitutional basis to do so may be expedient and lead to short-term political benefits for some, but would risk undermining our democracy — which is built upon the rule of law and separation of powers,” said Senator Jerry Moran, a Kansas Republican up for re-election next year.
Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, a rising Republican star, said that he disagreed with his colleagues objecting “both in principle and in practice.”