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Photo: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) will object to the certification of Arizona's Electoral College votes on Wednesday, two sources familiar with his plans confirmed to Axios.

Why it matters: Cruz is one of 13 senators who have threatened to object to President-elect Biden's Electoral College victory. Arizona is at least the third state whose certification Republican lawmakers plan to challenge.

  • Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) has said he'll object to Pennsylvania's certification, while Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) says she'll object to Georgia's results.
  • Cruz, who is leading a separate coalition of 11 senators, will be joined in the House in his Arizona objection by Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.).
  • The Washington Post was the first to report on Cruz's plans.

Between the lines: Cruz is choosing to object to Arizona in an effort to bolster his request for an electoral commission on alleged voter fraud early on in the certification process, sources tell Axios.

  • States are certified alphabetically — meaning Arizona will be the first battleground state brought to the joint session of Congress.
  • The Trump campaign has repeatedly lost lawsuits seeking to overturn election results, including in Arizona.

What they're saying: "I assembled a coalition of 11 senators that 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," Cruz said on the Mark Levin Show on Monday.

  • "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."

What to watch: Republicans' objections to the certification process are virtually guaranteed to fail. The Democrats hold a majority in the House, and a number of Republican senators have condemned their colleagues' efforts as damaging to democracy.

Go deeper: 2024 Republicans view Biden certification vote as decisive for their presidential viability

Go deeper

Scoop: Conservative group puts $700k behind Hawley

Sen. Josh Hawley explains his objection to certifying the 2020 election results hours after the U.S. Capitol siege. Photo: Congress.gov via Getty Images

A Republican group is raising and spending huge amounts of money defending Sen. Josh Hawley after he was ostracized for early January’s attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Why it matters: The Senate Conservatives Fund is plugging Hawley's ideological bona fides and backfilling lost corporate cash with needed political and financial support, helping inoculate him as he weighs reelection or a possible presidential campaign in 2024.

Thousands without power as "hazardous" winter storm lashes East Coast

Winter view from Charlotte as winter storm Izzy creates dangerous conditions in Charlotte, N.C. on Jan. 16. Photo: Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A major winter storm was lashing much of the East Coast on Sunday, causing widespread power outages and disrupting travel over the holiday weekend.

The big picture: Heavy snow and ice accumulations are "likely to produce hazardous travel," downed trees and more power outages from the Mid-South to the Northeast, per the National Weather Service. Some parts of the U.S. can expect to see up to a foot of snow through Monday.

Updated 2 hours ago - Science

Volcanic eruption in Tonga caused "significant" damage

This satellite image of the eruption on Jan. 15 taken by Himawari-8, a Japanese weather satellite operated by Japan Meteorological Agency and released by National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT). Photo: NICT via AP

Significant damage has been reported in Tonga following an undersea volcanic eruption on Saturday, which covered the Pacific nation in ash and cut off communication lines.

Driving the news: The eruption triggered tsunami warnings across Tonga's islands and in other regions, including the West Coast of the U.S. and New Zealand.