Washington – President Donald Trump prematurely declared early Wednesday he had won re-election against Joe Biden and said he would ask the Supreme Court to intervene, even as several battleground states continue to count votes.
“This is a fraud on the American public,” Trump said after noting that he holds leads in several states that have not been called in his favor, including Pennsylvania and Michigan.
“Frankly we did win this election,” he said. “So we’ll be going to the U.S. Supreme Court. We want all voting to stop.”
It wasn’t immediately clear what Trump meant, as states including Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Georgia and others are counting legally cast votes. It is routine for states to continue counting votes after Election Day.
Biden’s campaign manager, Jen O’Malley Dillon, said in a statement that Trump’s remarks were “outrageous, unprecedented and incorrect” and “a naked effort to take away the democratic rights of American citizens.”
“The counting will not stop,” she said. “It will continue until every duly cast vote is counted.”
Minutes after Trump stopped speaking, the Associated Press declared that Biden had won Arizona, a state Trump won in 2016. It is the first state to flip in the election and greatly complicates the president’s path to re-election.
Biden also won three of Maine’s four Electoral College votes, the AP said.
Trump delivered his remarks from the East Room of the White House, shortly before 2:30 a.m., to a crowd of more than 100 supporters, including his family. Few if any of the people in the room wore masks to protect themselves from coronavirus infection.
Earlier, Biden said he feels good about his chances to win the presidency, cautioning supporters that it would take time to finish counting the votes.
“We believe we’re on track to win this election,” Biden told supporters in cars outside the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware. Just as he concluded his remarks, Trump responded in tweets.
Trump responded with a tweet saying that he was ahead and Democrats were trying to steal the election. Twitter placed a notice on the tweet saying that it was misleading.
The only other Electoral College vote to flip so far, besides Arizona, came from a congressional district in Nebraska that backed Biden after favoring Trump in 2016.
The AP, relied on by many news organizations for election calls, said in a statement that it “is not calling the presidential race yet because neither candidate has secured the 270 electoral college votes needed to claim victory.”
Trump won Florida, a crucial prize in the race to the White House that closed off former Vice President Biden’s hopes for an early knockout in the election. The president also won Texas, which Democrats had hoped might turn blue and entirely reshape the electoral map.
Trump significantly outperformed in one of Florida’s most populous counties, Miami-Dade. After losing the county four years ago by 29 points, he lost by less than 8 to Biden.
The county is diverse, with large Cuban and Venezuelan populations Trump has courted by raising diplomatic and economic pressure on the socialist regimes in those countries. He accused Biden of sharing their politics.
Earlier, Trump won Ohio and Biden won Minnesota, states that each candidate had sought to take from the other but wound up politically unchanged from 2016.
Ohio was the first of several battleground states decided in the race. Fox News and NBC News each called it for the incumbent just before midnight Tuesday. Biden campaigned in the state the day before the election.
Trump held multiple campaign rallies in Minnesota, a state he narrowly lost to Hillary Clinton in 2016. But Biden’s strength in the urban parts of the state kept it in the Democratic column.
Biden scored early wins in traditionally Democratic states while Trump won Republican strongholds, according to the Associated Press and networks.
Other battleground states that remain undecided include North Carolina, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan. Trump holds leads in North Carolina and Georgia, though there are votes outstanding in each. Trump won both states in 2016.
Biden’s Arizona and Maine wins gave him a 238-213 lead in the Electoral College, 32 votes from the 270 required for victory.
In addition, Biden won Nebraska’s second congressional district, Minnesota, Hawaii, California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, New York, Virginia, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, Rhode Island, New Mexico, Delaware, District of Columbia and New Hampshire, according to the AP.
Trump won Nebraska’s other four Electoral College votes, Ohio, Florida, Texas, Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, West Virginia, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Missouri.
Nebraska is one of only two states, with Maine, that award an Electoral College vote to the winner of each congressional district. Trump won two districts and Biden won one. Trump won the state overall, giving him Nebraska’s two remaining Electoral College votes.
Even if they yet claim the White House, a “blue wave” that Democrats hoped would also give them control of both chambers of Congress may fall short.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, was re-elected, the AP said. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, was re-elected despite a Democratic challenger who badly out-raised him, and Sen. Doug Jones, an Alabama Democrat, was defeated by Republican Tommy Tuberville.
Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, defeated Sen. Cory Gardner, giving his party one pickup. Other contested Senate seats remain undecided.
Biden is winning over Latino and African American voters in numbers similar to Clinton four years ago, and is narrowing Trump’s margin among White voters, early exit polls from the AP show.
Trump had a six-point lead among White voters in Tuesday’s election. Network exit polls four years ago showed him with a 20-point advantage among those voters. Biden led among Latino voters by a 2-to-1 ratio, and Black voters 13-to-1.
Trump and Biden had little more to do than wait as officials tally the votes, including millions of pivotal mail-in ballots that could take days to count. Some Trump supporters posted on Twitter that they were headed to the White House for an election-night party, while the president’s staff held a separator watch party in the West Wing.
A final outcome in the race may not be known until Wednesday or even later. Elections officials in the key battlegrounds of Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania said they may be counting votes into the week.
Volatility persisted in U.S. equity futures as investors worked to price in shifting odds for Trump’s re-election. The odds of a second Trump presidency on the Betfair exchange pared some of their gains, and were trading at about 55%.
Trump and Biden both projected confidence throughout Election Day, pointing to long lines at some polling stations as signs they were poised to win. While there were reports of high voter turnout in states including Texas, Florida and Arizona, there were few signs of disturbances that many had feared.
In Charlotte, North Carolina, police arrested a man who was legally carrying an unconcealed firearm after he returned to a polling station authorities said he’d been banned from. The New York Police Department said it will deploy thousands of officers on street patrol Tuesday night to dissuade violence. “Don’t even try it,” Chief of Department Terence Monahan said.
Biden entered Election Day in a strong position, leading nationally by 7.2 percentage points as well as in most swing states, according to the RealClearPolitics polling average. But the Election Day vote was expected to favor Trump in large part because Democrats encouraged their supporters to cast early ballots.
Despite Biden’s advantage, some Democrats are spooked that Trump could defy polls and win, just as he did in 2016. But Biden’s lead over Trump in national polls is greater than Clinton’s was on Election Day in 2016. RealClearPolitics had her ahead of Trump nationally by 3.2 percentage points.
Biden also has held consistent leads in some key swing states he needs to win, while in 2016 some of those states were infrequently polled and assumed to be a slam dunk for Democrats.
On Tuesday, Trump predicted a “big red wave” among Republicans who cast their ballots in person rather than vote early or by mail as many Democrats had done.
“I think we’re going to have a great night,” Trump told reporters when he stopped in at his campaign headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, before returning to the White House to await polling results and work the phones.
Voting takes place amid a deadly wave of the coronavirus pandemic, leading to millions of votes being cast by mail — a shift that could delay an official tally in some battleground states for days. In Pennsylvania, for example, election officials could not begin processing early ballots until Tuesday, and it’s unclear how long it will take officials to tally them.
Early turnout information suggested that Republicans had erased Democrats’ lead in mail-in and early voting in Florida, a key state.
Michael Bloomberg, the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the owner of Bloomberg News, provided $100 million in support of Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris in Florida, half of that from his Independence USA PAC.
“If there’s something to talk about tonight I’ll talk about it,” Biden said Tuesday afternoon at a campaign stop in Wilmington, Delaware. “If not, I’ll wait till the votes are counted the next day.”
The Biden campaign sees multiple paths to victory, while Trump has a narrower route that includes recapturing Pennsylvania while protecting the other states he won in 2016. A win for Biden in those states would all but guarantee him a victory. But the former vice president could also unseat Trump if he picks up traditional GOP bastions in the Sun Belt, like Georgia or Arizona.
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