Democrat Joe Biden edged closer to a potential upset in Georgia – and to a White House win – coming within 1 point of President Donald Trump in the traditionally red state Wednesday night.
As the race narrowed, Trump’s campaign announced that they had filed a lawsuit in the state, alleging that a GOP poll observer witnessed 53 late absentee ballots added to a pile in Chatham County, where Savannah – a Democratic-leaning urban center – is located.
‘We will not allow Democrat election officials to steal this election from President Trump with late, illegal ballots,’ Deputy Campaign Manager Justin Clark said.
More totals from Georgia are expected Wednesday night. Trump held 49.9 per cent of the vote, while Biden had 48.9, with the president about 46,000 votes ahead.
The Georgia lawsuit was just the latest in a series of legal maneuvers Trump’s campaign made Wednesday as his path to re-election got narrower – and as the president made unfounded claims on Twitter about fraud.
On Wednesday afternoon, Biden all but declared he’d win the election, as Wisconsin and Michigan were called in his favor.
With Michigan – and with Arizona called for Biden by some networks – the former vice president was just 6 electoral votes away from the 270 he needs to claim the White House.
If he can get any one of the four remaining states to tilt his way – Nevada, North Carolina, Georgia or Pennsylvania – he will win.
Trump will only gain a second term if all four go his way. Trump has been up by around 76,000 votes in North Carolina.
Throughout the day, his lead in Pennsylvania has gotten smaller. It was at around 212,000 votes around 8 p.m. Wednesday night. Outstanding ballots in the Keystone State were coming from Democratic areas like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh and they were mail-in, which also favored Biden.
Biden has been leading in Nevada by a slim margin – 7,647 – but more votes need to be counted there.
Another drop is expected at 12 p.m. EST Thursday.
It means America is inching closer to an election result but still does not have one almost 24 hours after the first polls closed thanks to record voter turnout, which is slowing the counting process.
President Trump netted 13,644 votes in Arizona when Maricopa County released additional election results on Wednesday night but it wasn’t enough to overcome Biden’s lead in the state.
Biden’s lead in Arizona has shrunk to about 13,000 votes. The Associated Press and Fox News has called the state for the Democratic contender but the Trump campaign was pushing for that decision to be recalled, arguing they would pick up enough votes to win when more results were announced.
But the results coming out of Marciopa will not help the president’s cause. Marciopa will release another round of results later Wednesday night.
Maricopa is the largest county in Arizona, home to Phoenix and 62% of the state’s 7.28 million residents. A candidate cannot win the state without it. Biden leads in Maricopa County by approximately 85,000 votes.
The President is demanding a recount in Wisconsin and he has filed lawsuits in Michigan and Pennsylvania to halt counting, claiming his people have not been allowed to oversee the process and ensure it is being carried out fairly.
Biden at a press conference on Wednesday, was unperturbed by Trump’s last-ditch efforts to snatch back the likelihood of a second term.
‘After a long night of counting it’s clear we are winning enough states to win the presidency. I am not here to declare that we won but I am here to report that when the count is finished we believe we will be the winners.
‘We have won Wisconsin by 20,000 votes. In Michigan, we lead by over 35,000 votes and its growing. We have a substantially bigger margin than Trump won Michigan in 2016.
‘Michigan will complete its vote soon. I feel very good about Pennsylvania. Virtually all remaining ballots to be counted are cast by mail and we’ve been winning 78% of the votes by mail in PA.
‘We flipped Arizona and the 2nd district in Nebraska. We won the majority of the American people and every indication is that the majority will grow.
‘Senator Harris and I are on track to win more votes than any ticket in the history of this country – over 70million votes. I’m very proud of our campaign,’ he said.
‘Only three presidential campaigns in the past have defeated the incumbent president. When it’s finished, God willing, we’ll be the fourth. This is a major achievement.’
Biden said that after the election is resolved, he would help ‘lower the temperature’ and unite the country, though he said he wasn’t naive to how ‘deep and hard the opposing views are.’
‘To make progress we have to stop treating our opponents as enemies, we are not enemies,’ Biden said.
‘What brings us together as Americans is so much stronger than anything that can tear us apart.’
At the end of his speech he stated, ‘Now, every vote must be counted.’
‘No one is going to take our democracy away from us – not now, not ever,’ he added, a statement clearly aimed at Trump.
The count is ongoing but in Detroit, angry crowds are demanding that it stop.
They are being stopped from entering the building – where volunteers are racing to tally up the votes – by police.
Volunteers have started boarding up windows in the counting center.
As his chances at victory shrank on Wednesday, Trump’s campaign set forth their plan to undermine the results which includes;
Demanding a recount in Wisconsin, despite Biden winning by more than 20,000 votes which represents around 0.6% of the vote; it is within Wisconsin’s recount rules which allows for anything within a 1 point margin to qualify for a a recount
Filing a lawsuit in Michigan demanding that all vote counting stop because his people weren’t giving proper access to voting sites and couldn’t oversee the counting process to ensure it was fair
Filing two additional actions in Pennsylvania claiming the Senator there has given Biden back-door votes to try to push him out
He says his people were kept too far away from the votes – 25ft – to check they were being counted properly
Filing a lawsuit in Georgia, alleging that a GOP poll observer witnessed 53 late absentee ballots added to a pile in Chatham County
They have already demanded a Wisconsin recount and have filed a lawsuit in Michigan asking that the vote counting be halted because they think it is suspicious.
‘The President is well within the threshold to request a recount and we will immediately do so.
‘There have been reports of irregularities in several Wisconsin counties which raise serious doubts about the validity of the results,’ Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien said in a statement shortly after Wisconsin chief election official Meagan Wolfe announced the state went for Biden.
As votes in Michigan continue to be counted, the presidential race in the state remains extremely tight as we always knew it would be. President Trump’s campaign has not been provided with meaningful access to numerous counting locations to observe the opening of ballots and the counting process, as guaranteed by Michigan law.
‘We have filed suit today in the Michigan Court of Claims to halt counting until meaningful access has been granted. We also demand to review those ballots which were opened and counted while we did not have meaningful access.
‘President Trump is committed to ensuring that all legal votes are counted in Michigan and everywhere else,’ Stepien said.
Officials in northern Michigan’s Antrim County are investigating possible inaccurate results after the traditionally red county flipped to Joe Biden, the Detroit Free Press reports.
In 2016, Trump won Antrim – which has 23,000 residents – with 62% of the vote, taking 8,469 votes to Hillary Clinton’s 4,448.
But officials, who did not check the unofficial results before posting them, were stunned when it appeared Joe Biden had gained 7,700 votes and was leading Trump by 3,000 votes Wednesday morning.
Antrim County Clerk Sheryl Guy, a Republican, said results on electronic tapes and a computer card appeared to be accurate. But she said they had become scrambled being transported in sealed bags from township precincts to county offices.
Officials are going over the tape of all the results and inputting the numbers manually.
Triston Cole, a Republican who represents Antrim County in the Michigan State House, told Interlochen Public Radio: ‘There is no way that we flipped from 62 percent Trump in 2016 to upside-down this time around’.
In a tweet earlier on Wednesday, the President cried fraud and claimed his overnight majority had ‘magically disappeared’ thanks to ‘surprise ballot dumps’ in Democrat states.
It is due to a large number of mail-in ballots for Biden being counted after votes for Trump which have predominantly been in person. Neither the President nor Joe Biden has yet reached the 270 electoral college votes they need to claim the White House and ballot counting will continue throughout the day and even the week.
Biden has officially won the most votes of any presidential candidate.
He is currently projected to have 72,054,459 votes, which is 50.4% of the total vote reported so far.
That beats Barack Obama, who, in 2008, won that record with 69,498,516 total votes, according to the Federal Election Commission.
If Biden follows his wins in Michigan and Wisconsin by taking Nevada, as expected, tomorrow – he will win the election with the key 270 electoral votes.
Then it won’t matter what happens in the Pennsylvania vote which was likely to be the subject of messy Trump legal challenges if he failed to win it when it finally finishes counting votes on Friday.
But even as they dared dream of Biden finally entering the White House after decades of trying, and an end to the Trump regime, it was dawning on many Democrats that this was not the new era they had hoped for.
Despite almost every opinion poll predicting an easy Biden victory the election turned into an all-night nail-biter before a route home eventually opened up for Joe Biden.
It most certainly was not the national rejection of Trump they wanted.
Trump still achieved 48 percent of the popular vote and notched up even more ballots than he did in 2016, albeit on a much higher turnover.
He also appeared to have made inroads into the black male and Latino demographics and not alienated as many white women as the polls suggested.
Meanwhile there was further disappointment in the Senate which remains at 46-48t to the Republicans.
And in another bitter blow to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Republicans even took back some House seats, closing the gap to give the Democrats a mere 89 against their 183 seats, with just a few left to call.
All in all, the disappointing night for the Democrat party risks leaving Biden with little chance of enacting a radical agenda of change, frustrating the left wing of his party.
As leading Democrat donor Barry Diller said: ‘It clearly will be that there is no progressive agenda that’s got any steam behind it, given what is likely to happen with a divided Congress.’
Diller, chairman of Expedia and IAC, told CNBC he was ‘humbled’ by the results so far.
He said: ‘I had hoped for a repudiation’ of Trump, but ‘for all the reasons that are kind of obvious that has not happened.’
Trump on Wednesday morning tweeted that votes for him were ‘magically disappearing’.
‘Last night I was leading, often solidly, in many key States, in almost all instances Democrat run & controlled.
Then, one by one, they started to magically disappear as surprise ballot dumps were counted. VERY STRANGE, and the “pollsters” got it completely & historically wrong!’ he said.
He went on: ‘How come every time they count Mail-In ballot dumps they are so devastating in their percentage and power of destruction?’
He then reposted a graphic which showed Biden’s numbers by 100 percent in one count in Michigan, saying: ‘WHAT IS THIS ALL ABOUT?’
At the same time, his campaign manager Bill Stepien laid out their strategy to question the results if Biden wins.
He outlined the path the campaign saw, which includes a recount in Wisconsin, Trump winning more votes in Michigan and Pennsylvania going their way in greater margins than expected.
The Trump campaign is also contesting Arizona, which has been called for Biden.
‘If we count all legal ballots the president wins. The votes still being counted will come the president’s way at day’s end,’ campaign manager Stepien said.
The Trump campaign said they expect the matter to end up in the courts.
‘We are obviously leading a full court press to make sure we have our legal teams are in place to make sure all the legally cast votes are ballot,’ Trump campaign senior adviser Jason Miller said.
Pennsylvania has said it will keep counting mail-in ballots until Friday and it’s unclear when a final result will come in in the other states. Despite the overwhelming uncertainty, Trump held a victory party on Tuesday night.
Biden Campaign Manager Jen O’Malley Dillon said: ‘Nearly 100 million people cast their ballot before Election Day in the belief — and with the assurances from their state election officials — that their ballot would be counted. Now Donald Trump is trying to invalidate the ballot of every voter who relied on these assurances.
‘If the president makes good on his threat to go to court to try to prevent the proper tabulation of votes, we have legal teams standing by ready to deploy to resist that effort. And they will prevail.’
Trump provided little clarity about what he has in mind for his legal team after claiming falsely early Wednesday that he already ‘won’ the election.
Trump said he was ‘going’ to the Supreme Court, when in fact the course of action would be for Republican lawyers to sue in individual states and county jurisdictions seeking to stop or modify the count in some way.
If, for example, Republicans allege that there is a problem in the county in Allegheny County, PA, they first must go to court there, appeal through the Pennsylvania courts system and then if they are not satisfied, go to a federal court. Federal court decisions are appealed to the federal appeals circuit, and from there to the Supreme Court.
It is also up to the Supreme Court to decide whether it even hears a case. It can simply decline to take it which leaves in place whatever ruling the federal appeals circuit has made.
Three different federal appeals circuits are potentially involved in the Midwestern states.
Pennsylvania is in the Third Circuit, which had a majority of Trump and George W. Bush appointees; Michigan is in the Sixth Circuit which is majority Republican appointed, and Wisconsin is in the Seventh, against majority Republican.
‘So we’ll be going to the U.S. Supreme Court,’ Trump said in a speech to supporters at the White House where he railed against TV networks for making election calls that went against him while pointing out the battleground states where he holds leads over Joe Biden.
‘We want all voting to stop. We don’t want them to find any ballots at four in the morning and add them to the list,’ Trump said.
His chief legal obstacle is that states, who oversee elections under the Constitution, are fulfilling their obligations by counting votes lawfully cast. Seeking to stop the count before all votes are accounted for would likely run into constitutional protections for ‘one person, one vote’ grounded in the Equal Protection clause.
Trump has repeatedly claimed mail-in ballots are fraudulent. Lawyers representing his campaign and Republicans have already gone to court seeking to stop states from counting mail-in ballots after Election Day.
In the case of Wisconsin, the Supreme Court already upheld Wisconsin’s voting laws requiring mail-in ballots be received by November 3 to get counted. What was holding up results there was simply the process of ballots already in.
‘We will win this. As far as I’m concerned, we already have won,’ Trump told supporters.
Pennsylvania is further behind in completing its count, with less than three-quarters of the vote in around 4 am.
Before the election, there was reporting in the Atlantic that amid a dispute over ballots, the Republican legislature could try to send a set of pro-Trump electors if the state’s vote remained undecided or contested in December.
The state was already the site of a pre-election battle that had the Supreme Court deciding 4-4 to allow mail-in ballots postmarked by Election Day to come in for three days after the election.
The decision itself would appear to contradict Trump’s claim that he has already ‘won’ based on an election that has not yet been certified with ballots still allowed to come in.
In just one example of the kind of multi-front campaign GOP lawyers could have in mind, a Republican congressional candidate has sued suburban Montgomery County outside Philadelphia claiming the state improperly began its count too early.
The suit accuses the county of making ‘arbitrary standards’ – even as Trump complains about the process of deciding the election taking too long.
The astonishing move was immediately condemned by his own party.
Conservative pundit Ben Shapiro tweeted, ‘No, Trump has not already won the election, and it is deeply irresponsible for him to say he has.’
Fox News was also critical of Trump’s approach.
‘This is an extremely flammable situation and the president just threw a match into it,’ said Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace, who moderated the first presidential debate. ‘He hasn’t won these states.’
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican who advises Trump and helped him with debate prep, believed the president would come to regret it.
‘It’s a bad strategic decision. It’s a bad political decision,’ Christie said.
Former GOP Sen. Rick Santorum, speaking on CNN, copped it up to Trump being stressed, old and it being 2 a.m. and suggested he would walk back his comments tomorrow and say every vote needs to be counted.
‘I was very distressed by what I just heard the president say,’ Santorum said.
Biden was handed Arizona by Fox News, and later by the Associated Press, in a call which the White House was disputing. Both he and Trump are now effectively in a stalemate which can only be ended by the lengthy process of counting mail-in ballots.
‘We feel good about where we are, we really do. I’m here to tell you tonight, we believe we’re on track to win this election,’ Biden told supporters gathered outside the Chase Center just after midnight. He pointed to the gain of Arizona and Minnesota, which NBC News said was leaning Biden minutes before he came onstage.
‘And we’re still in the game in Georgia, although that’s not one we expected,’ Biden said. ‘We feel real good about Wisconsin and Michigan. And, by the way, we’re going to win Pennsylvania,’ he said, getting copious honks from his drive-in crowd.
Biden said he was ‘encouraged,’ especially, by turnout in Philadelphia, which is adjacent to Wilmington.
‘Look, we could know the results as early as tomorrow morning.
‘It may take longer as I’ve said all along,’ he said. ‘It’s not my place or Donald Trump’s place to call who wins this election, that’s the decision of the American people.’
‘I am optimistic about this outcome,’ he said.
Right before he exited he told the crowd that he and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, would be talking tomorrow.
As Biden was pulling in, the jumbotrons, which were playing MSNBC, announced that President Donald Trump had officially won Florida – the first sign Tuesday that the U.S. was in for a long night.
Big swaths of potentially Democratic votes were outstanding in places like Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, Detroit and Atlanta when Biden appeared.
Trump tweeted immediately after Biden’s speech to accuse Biden of fraud and say he was ‘winning BIG’ and would make his own statement.
‘Votes cannot be cast after the Poles are closed!’ he tweeted from the White House residence – spelling polls incorrectly, but making clear that the battle will be over late-arriving mail-in ballots.
Trump tweeted that ‘they are trying to STEAL the Election’. His accusation was flagged almost immediately by Twitter as ‘misleading’
After 1am, Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional district – which is worth one electoral vote – was called for Biden.
Trump won the rest of state, collecting four electoral college votes.
The gain for Biden is notable because it will prevent a 269-269 tie between the two presidential candidates. In 2016, Trump won all three of Nebraska’s Congressional districts and thus all of its five electoral votes.
Trump snatched the biggest electoral prizes of the night in the closing minutes of Tuesday, as he took Ohio, Florida and Texas.
But Biden scored the first takeaway of the evening as he was also given Arizona, making the western battleground the first state to change hands from 2016.
President Trump watched returns in the upstairs residence of the White House with family and close advisers. Downstairs in the East Wing, Trump supporters watched returns on TV screens showing Fox News and snacking on fast food, including French fries and hamburgers.
Biden was at his home in Wilmington, watching the votes come in with his family.
Nancy Pelosi SHRINKS her Democratic majority in the House despite believing Republicans were outspent and outgunned – and faces nightmare of AOC-led Squad getting even larger
Democrats went into Tuesday night expecting to pad their majority in the House, but instead Republicans were able to unseat several incumbents and close the gap.
Both parties’ assumption going into Election Day was that Democrats would be able to snatch at least a dozen more seats from GOP incumbents, adding to their majority in the lower chamber.
The opposite outcome ensued, however, with Republicans picking up several seats and defending representatives in at-risk districts.
Now, Democratic leadership led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will have to think hard about what went wrong and answer difficult questions on how their ideal Election Night was knocked so hard off track.
Republicans could very likely have a net gain of 10 House seats.
Pelosi led the House with 232 seats compared to Republicans’ 197 going into Election Day, but it now appears that the GOP will have somewhere north of 200 seats, holding a solid minority with more power than they’ve had the last two years.
The Democratic leader along with Chairwoman of House Democrats’ campaign arm Rep. Cheri Bustos of Illinois predicted a sunny outcome for Democrats Tuesday, claiming they would defend the 2018 gains and flip districts previously thought to be in safe Republican territory.
‘I think we are going to see some wins in these deep red districts that over time you’re going to see going from ruby red to purple to even blue,’ Bustos said Tuesday.
She also leaned into the uncertainty of this years’ election, adding in her remarks ‘this is an Election Day that may end up looking like an Election Week.’
While Republicans overall are declaring Tuesday a win for their Party in the House, more progressive Democrats, including all four members of the ‘squad’, earned a win in their House races.
Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York; Ilhan Omar of Minnesota; Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts; and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan all solidly won reelection bids in their respective districts.
They also added a few new members to their ‘squad,’ to the dismay of Pelosi – a more establishment Democrat whose views often don’t line up with those in the more progressive arm of the Party.
Cori Bush, who won in Missouri’s 1st District, was immediately embraced by the ‘squad.’
The group also added its first two male members with Jamaal Bowman, who won his race in New York’s 16th District, and Mondaire Jones in New York 17.
Bowman said, ‘2018 was just the beginning when my sisters in The Squad were able to win their positions.’
‘Now we’re more than doubling up, in terms of those who are coming in with an unapologetically progressive platform rooted in centering racial and economic justice,’ he added.
Although Ocasio-Cortez was currently the youngest member of the House, elected at 29 and now 31-years-old, Republicans will now hold that record with Madison Cawthorn in North Carolina.
The 25-year-old is taking over former Rep. Mark Meadow’s seat in North Carolina’s deep red 11th District after he vacated the seat earlier this year when he became the White House Chief of Staff earlier this year.
Potentially the biggest House win for Republicans was flipping Minnesota’s 7th District seat red after trying to unseat Democratic Rep. Collin Peterson there for decades and 15 terms.
Peterson, 76, has held his seat in the midwest state since 1991, but was solidly beat out by Republican Michelle Fischbach who earned 53.6 per cent of the vote to his 39.8 per cent. Only Minneapolis, the state’s largest city, and its suburbs voted for Peterson’s reelection, yet again.
With the help of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) and Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF), the GOP had the funds and organization to mobilize House race efforts.
The GOP added several women to their ranks Tuesday night.
‘We defied the odds. It’s the night of the Republican women,’ House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told Politico early Wednesday Morning. ‘The Democrats never solved one problem in their majority. They promised they would govern differently, and they didn’t.
Republicans beat two South Florida Democratic incumbents in the Miami area, which usually goes strongly blue – especially in presidential elections.
Democratic Rep. Donna Shalala, who at 78 at the time was the oldest freshman woman ever elected, lost her seat to broadcast journalist Maria Elvira Shalazar in Florida’s 27th District. And Democratic Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell lost her seat to Republican Carlos Gimenez, a Cuban American, who won the 26th District seat.
Incumbent Democrats were also defeated by GOP candidates in New Mexico, Oklahoma and South Carolina and Republicans were able to hold onto vulnerable districts in places like Texas and elsewhere.
Nancy Mace took Rep. Joe Cunningham’s House seat in South Carolina 1st District.
Republican candidate Nicole Malliotakis is ahead in New York’s 11th District, which includes Staten Island – and is on track to beat incumbent Democrat Max Rose with a 15.8 per cent margin as of Wednesday morning.
Democratic Reps. Xochitl Torres Small of New Mexico and Kendra Horn of Oklahoma will also both vacate their seats for Republicans to take over in January.
In Virginia’s 7th District, which spans a large area west, north west and south west of Richmond, Republican Nick Freitas is on track to defeat Democrat incumbent Abigail Spanberger.
In the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell scored the first important win of the election night, with networks calling his race for reelection soon after the polls closed in Kentucky.
It was a result that political experts had forecast – but it dashed the hopes of Trump ‘resistance’ members who poured contributions into the race in hopes of turning back a prime facilitator of the president’s agenda.
McConnell, the architect of the strategy to push through a quick confirmation for Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett, was leading Democrat Amy McGrath 56% to 40%, with about two-thirds of the state’s vote counted.
McConnell, who also helped push through Trump’s tax cuts and confirmed a raft of appeals court judges, also designed the strategy to block President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nomination of Merrick Garland.
What is still unknown is whether he will return to the Senate next year as majority leader or as minority leader.
He won in a what was looking to be a difficult year for incumbent Republicans after spending 36 years in the Senate, defeating McGrath, a former Marine fighter pilot, as President Donald Trump carried the state.
Democrats made McConnell a top target even with ample other opportunities on the map, funneling $88 million to McGrath and shattering records compared to $55million for McConnell, a proven fundraiser.
Both Biden and Donald Trump have been eyeing Pennsylvania as one of the key swing states in the White House race.
Pennsylvania accounts for a significant 20 electoral votes meaning both Republicans and Democrats – as well as pollsters – believe the outcome of the state could dictate the entire race. Concerns are mounting that Trump will declare victory in the state long before votes are counted or that he will attempt to stop mail-in votes being counted after election day.
Democrats are thought to be more likely to vote by mail-in voting given Trump’s constant rhetoric that the process is ‘rigged’.
Colorado Senator Cory Gardner became the first major political casualty Tuesday night, after former governor and Denver mayor John Hickenlooper defeated him.
Gardner was considered one of the most endangered Republican incumbents on the ballot Tuesday, running in a state where Joe Biden was running strongly against President Trump.
His defeat would take the GOP’s narrow Senate majority down to 52 votes – however should Republicans knock off Alabama Democratic Sen. Doug Jones it would be a wash.
Gardner trailed Hickenlooper in opinion polls going into election day, and Hickenlooper overcame some of his own stumbles after he was forced to pay a state ethics fine. He ran for president this year and stumbled, but was considered a top Democratic prospect in his state.
Like other Senate Republicans, Hickenlooper became tied to Trump, who was viewed negatively in the state. Although he once criticized Trump during the 2016 campaign after the ‘Access Hollywood’ tape, Gardner, a former leader of his party’s campaign wing, didn’t put much distance between himself and the president.
He said he thought Trump was moral and ethical when asked about it during a candidates’ debate. ‘I wish he could be more specific in his communications with the American people,’ Gardner added.