Will Pence Recuse?

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Jim speculated here on what Hawley objecting to the Biden electors will mean for his 2024 chances. Another question is what it will mean for the state of play next week. Perhaps Hawley ends up isolated and no one follows his lead, but it also may be that his move creates a jailbreak among 2024 hopefuls, who all calculate they can’t let Hawley alone be the champion of Trump’s interests in this fight.

If there is a bit of a stampede to catch up to Hawley, it also could put more pressure on Pence, who is in the most awkward position in Washington as the Trump loyalist who is supposed to preside over the final piece of Biden’s victory. I don’t think he’s going to try to unilaterally declare Trump the winner as some on the MAGA right hope, and it’d obviously be better if he just did his duty, but he could well decide to sidestep the whole thing by recusing himself. In that scenario, presiding over the count falls to Chuck Grassley as the president pro tempore of the Senate. (In 1969, Vice President Hubert Humphrey recused himself after losing to Nixon.)