Kansas Republican Icon Bob Dole: ‘The Election is Over and Biden Will be President’

December 18, 2020by Bryan Lowry, The Kansas City Star (TNS)
Republican challenger Bob Dole, left, waves to the crowd alongside President Bill Clinton at the conclusion of their first debate, October 6, 1996, in Hartford, Connecticut. (Jon Levy/AFP/Getty Images/TNS)

WASHINGTON — Former Republican presidential nominee and Kansas political icon Bob Dole said Thursday the election has been decided, whether President Donald Trump accepts the outcome or not.

“The election is over and (Joe) Biden will be president on January 20. I know the president has not conceded and he may never concede, but he will not be in the White House on January 21,” said Dole, the former Senate majority leader and 1996 nominee.

“It’s a pretty bitter pill for Trump, but it’s a fact he lost. It’ll take him a while to accept that,” said Dole, 97, who lost to President Bill Clinton in 1996.

Dole’s comments are in striking contrast to the Republicans who represent his home state.

Kansas Republican chairman Mike Kuckelman maintained at Monday’s Electoral College vote ceremony in Topeka that the election was “not over until it’s over” despite Biden winning 306 electoral votes, above the 270 required for victory.

Senator-elect Roger Marshall, who Dole endorsed, said Wednesday he was undecided about voting to block Biden’s electoral votes when Congress meets on Jan. 6 to accept the presidential results. He suggested that it was still unknown who would be sworn in as president on Jan. 20.

Congressman-elect Tracey Mann, who will succeed Marshall in representing the “Big First” congressional district—also Dole’s former seat— was among 26 incoming Republicans who signed a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi demanding an investigation of the election.

Dole was the only former Republican nominee to attend the 2016 convention when Trump was nominated. But he also served alongside Biden in the U.S. Senate and praised the president-elect’s Senate tenure despite their political differences.

“He’s a friend of mine and he was a good chairman of the Judiciary Committee in the Senate,” Dole said of Biden. “He did a good job. Proud to be a liberal—hopefully not too liberal—but he knows how the government works and the Congress works and all this will be a benefit to Joe.”

Dole said that he is hopeful Republicans can hold the Senate majority by winning the two runoff elections in Georgia, which will provide a check on Biden. He said a Republican Senate would benefit Biden by counterbalancing the Democratic House and requiring compromise.

“Right now it’s over and Biden will be president. And we all hope he’ll do a good job and not be too liberal. He’s got a lot of liberal ideas. We’ll see if we can keep the Senate,” Dole said.

While most of the GOP delegation from Kansas has not recognized Biden’s win, Kansas Republican Sen. Jerry Moran said he has already spoken to Denis McDonough, the former Obama White House chief of staff who Biden has nominated to lead the Department of Veteran Affairs.

If Republicans keep control of the Senate, Moran will preside over McDonough’s confirmation hearing as chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

“When the Electoral College met, it’s time for Americans to pull together,” Moran said. “We can’t afford to have the country any more divided than it is. I want to put to rest this potential four-year debate about who won the election.”

Moran said he would oppose efforts to block Biden’s electoral votes on Jan. 6. He said he hopes Dole’s words resonate with Kansas voters who are still upset about the election outcome.

“I think Kansans still look to Bob Dole for answers about what’s right and what’s wrong,” Moran said. “There’s such a reservoir of respect for him for his service in World War II that when he says something it’s important.”

Dole did not address Marshall’s comments questioning Biden’s win, but he said he had spoken to the senator-elect several times after his double-digit victory against Democrat Barbara Bollier. Dole was an early endorser of Marshall and appeared in multiple campaign ads.

“Now he’s going to have the whole state to cover, particularly in the Kansas City area, so you’ve got to bone up on non-farm issues. I think Roger’s already into that pretty heavily,” Dole said when asked what advice he had offered Marshall on transitioning from the House to Senate.

“My advice is never be strictly partisan. Compromise is a good word many times.”

The Kansas City Star’s Jonathan Shorman contributed to this report.

©2020 The Kansas City Star.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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