Biden overtakes Trump in Pennsylvania, putting the presidency within reach: The latest updates

Joe Biden won Nevada over President Donald Trump, securing six electoral votes in a battleground that has been a key piece of Democrats’ electoral map in four straight presidential elections.

Nevada was a top retention target for Democrats after the 2016 election, when the state voted for Hillary Clinton by a slim 2-point margin as Trump won the White House.

Biden hit the state in the final stretch of the 2020 campaign, appearing alongside Nevada’s governor and most of its congressional delegation for an Oct. 9 speech highlighting what he framed as the economic and health impacts of Trump’s “negligence” during the pandemic.

In the week before the election, more than 96,000 Nevadans tested positive for coronavirus and more than 1,700 residents died, according to state data. Nevada’s unemployment rate in September was 12.6 percent, one of the highest in the nation.

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WILMINGTON, Del. — Joe Biden has won the presidency, toppling Donald Trump after four years of upheaval in the White House.

Trump is the first president since 1992 to fail to win a second term. But the close results in many key states — coupled with a lackluster performance by down-ballot Democrats — will leave the Democratic and Republican parties facing an identity crisis unlike any in recent history.

Biden, the former vice president, triumphed as a normalizing force. He succeeded in defining the race as a referendum on Trump, whose chaotic government — often by tweet — tested the patience of a weary electorate.

The call for Biden by The Associated Press and TV networks Saturday morning came as Trump and his campaign vowed Saturday to dispute the results and continue a legal battle to challenge them.

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Pennsylvania

Joe Biden has defeated President Donald Trump in Pennsylvania, clinching the Electoral College and delivering a decisive rebuke to Trump in one of the states that lifted him to the White House four years ago.

Widely seen as the most likely state to decide who would win the Electoral College, Pennsylvania was one of the most heavily contested battlegrounds in the presidential race. Biden visited it more than any other swing state, put his campaign headquarters there before the Covid-19 pandemic, and deployed former President Barack Obama, his top surrogate, to Philadelphia for his first in-person event this fall.

Trump lavished attention on Pennsylvania as well, holding a series of rallies in the state in the final week before the election.

Republicans and Democrats also fought in court for months over the state’s voting rules, mostly resulting in the failure of GOP efforts to restrict mail voting.

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Georgia Senate

Republican Sen. David Perdue and Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff are heading to a January runoff in Georgia, after both fell short of a majority in the November vote.

The two runoffs in the state — this race and the special election for the state’s other Senate seat — will decide control of the Senate on Jan. 5. Republicans hold a narrow edge in the race for a majority, but they are currently short, with several races still undecided. With Joe Biden appearing to be on track to win the presidency, victories in both Georgia races would likely hand Democrats control of an evenly split 50-50 Senate.

The dual overtime races will undoubtedly drive national attention and money back into the state over the next two months.

Ossoff, an investigative filmmaker, entered the race against Perdue late last year with unusual name recognition and fundraising ability after narrowly losing the most expensive House race in history in a 2017 special election that became an early Trump-era rallying point for the Democratic Party.

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Live Updates: 2020 Elections

A federal judge refused a request to issue an order that could have delayed Nevada’s election results for days.

Republicans struck out in another election-related lawsuit on Friday as a federal judge refused a request to issue an order that could have delayed Nevada’s election results for days.

Las Vegas-based U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Gordon issued his ruling after hearing arguments Friday that Clark County officials violated state law by using a machine to scan mail-ballot signatures and match them against earlier signatures on file for each voter.

A lawyer for a voter who claims that someone else voted her initial ballot and for two GOP congressional campaigns argued during a two-hour telephone hearing that election officials should be required to stop using the machine and instead compare the signatures manually on every mail ballot.

“Every other county eyeballed it appropriately through the statutes,” said David O’Mara, the Republican lawyer. “They didn’t have the right to do this. … The court needs to protect the integrity of the election.”

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Live Updates: 2020 Election Week

Justice Samuel Alito did not grant a GOP request that those ballots go uncounted, but instead said they could be tallied “if counted separately.”

Republicans in Pennsylvania won an order from the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday evening requiring local officials to separate out late-arriving ballots until the legal controversy over them is resolved.

However, the order from Justice Samuel Alito did not grant a GOP request that those ballots go uncounted. Instead, he said those ballots could be tallied “if counted separately.”

The two-page order was unusual in that it came from Alito alone. Most emergency applications of public significance are addressed by the full court, although particularly urgent matters are sometimes acted on by a single justice while the other justices are later asked to weigh in. Alito followed that latter course, saying he was referring the issue to his colleagues for further action.

Alito’s order in the first voting-related dispute to reach the high court since Election Day also seemed to take a swipe at Pennsylvania officials for not officially notifying the justices that a directive that Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar sent out on the issue late last month was updated four days later.

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Demonstrations across the country protesting alleged fraud in this week’s election have ties to major conservative activist groups and MAGA personalities affiliated with President Donald Trump, according to multiple misinformation researchers.

Many of these protests have been organized by prominent, well-funded pro-Trump groups such as Tea Party Patriots, Women for America First, Turning Point USA and Freedom Works USA, according to analyses from several research institutions.

One of the first avenues for organizing, a Facebook group called #StopTheSteal, was created by Amy Kremer, a longtime conservative activist with Tea Party roots and founder of the pro-Trump group Women for America First. The Facebook group collected more than 350,000 members in just over 24 hours before it was banned by the social media company for promoting violence.

The group’s other administrators were even more prominent conservative activists with close ties to Steve Bannon, the former manager of Trump’s 2016 campaign and the ex-chair of the conservative news organization Breitbart, according to data collected by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, a think tank that tracks online extremism and misinformation.

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Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel did not present concrete examples of alleged voter fraud in her home state of Michigan and elsewhere when pressed by Fox News anchors on Friday, instead urging Americans to “give us time” to produce evidence of irregularities.

Asked about President Donald Trump’s remaining path to victory with Democratic nominee Joe Biden now leading Trump in three key uncalled swing states — any of which could put him over the 270 electoral vote threshold for election — McDaniel urged patience.

“We have seen a lot of irregularities, Bret,” she told anchor Bret Baier, claiming that in Michigan, where the Trump campaign is pushing for a recount, “we’ve been pursuing reports coming in on our hotline, people who were disenfranchised from observing the vote count and some more serious allegations that we’re seeing.”

Pressed for more specifics, McDaniel said she would be holding a news conference later in the day.

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Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden plans to deliver a prime-time speech Friday evening as he stands on the cusp of winning the White House.

The former vice president’s plan to deliver a speech was confirmed by an aide to his campaign.

The White House contest remains uncalled but Biden currently holds leads over President Donald Trump in several outstanding states, including Georgia, Nevada and Pennsylvania. A win in any of those states would make Biden president-elect.

Kamala Harris, Biden’s running mate, is also expected to speak Friday, the campaign aide said.

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Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Friday that former vice president Joe Biden should have a Cabinet, if he wins the presidency.

Graham, a staunch Trump ally, said during a press call that he would work to find areas of agreement with Biden but emphasized that the election is not yet over.

“When it comes to finding common ground, I will do that,” Graham told reporters. “The vice president deserves a Cabinet. I’ll give him my input about who I could vote for as secretary of state, attorney general … There may be some people that I just can’t vote for because I think they’re unqualified or too extreme.”

While the White House and Senate majority have yet to be called, Biden is within striking distance of winning the presidency after taking a slight lead in Pennsylvania, a critical battleground state that would deliver Biden the White House should he win it. Meanwhile, control of the Senate is up in the air. While Republicans are poised to start the year with a razor-thin majority, the state of Georgia will hold two runoffs on January 5 for its pair of Senate races. If Democrats win both of those seats, they will control the Senate with Biden as president.

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Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday that Vice President Joe Biden would win the White House, repeatedly calling him “president-elect” as she discussed the Democratic Party’s agenda next year.

“This morning, it is clear that the Joe Biden-Kamala Harris ticket will win the White House,” Pelosi said in her first press briefing since the Nov. 3 election.

Pelosi spoke to reporters in the Capitol as thousands of votes were still being counted in battleground states. Biden gained the lead Friday morning in Pennsylvania, potentially clinching his path to victory, though Trump has made clear he will pursue legal challenges.

Pelosi said the outcome was “imminent,” and could be declared “momentarily.”

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Georgia’s secretary of state said Friday morning that there will be a recount of the state’s presidential votes, as Joe Biden took a narrow lead of a few hundredths of a percentage point over President Donald Trump.

“With a margin that small, there will be a recount in Georgia,” Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, said at a Friday morning press conference. “Interest in our election obviously goes far beyond Georgia’s borders. The final tally in Georgia at this point has huge implications for the entire country.”

Sixteen electoral votes hang in the balance in Georgia, and as Raffensperger spoke, Biden had a lead of 1,098 out of nearly 5 million cast, with just a small number left to be counted. Gabriel Sterling, the state’s voting system implementation manager, compared the margin to “less than a small high school.”

There are still 4,169 mail ballots left to be counted in the state, according to Raffensperger’s office, with the majority of those coming in Gwinnett County, in Atlanta’s suburbs.

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Larry Kudlow, President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser, insisted Friday that “there will be a peaceful transfer of power” if Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is declared the winner of the White House race.

“This is a great country. This is the greatest democracy in the world. And we abide by the rule of law, and so will this president,” Kudlow said in an interview on CNBC. “There are some things to clean up here, and again, it’s not my area of expertise. I’ll leave that discussion to the campaign.”

Kudlow, the director of the National Economic Council, also sought to reassure the international community as the United States entered its third full day of vote-counting, after a tumultuous week that saw the president launch attacks against the nation’s electoral process and level false allegations of widespread voter fraud.

“We will continue peacefully, as we always do,” Kudlow said. “And I might add, anybody from around the world, offshore watching this, they should know that. That America is the greatest democracy, and we abide by the rule of law.”

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Live Updates: 2020 Election Week

The president, who is on the verge of defeat, is now saying his effort to cast doubt on the results “is no longer about any single election.”

Updated

President Donald Trump on Friday sought to reframe his unfounded allegations of widespread voter fraud, proclaiming in a statement that his push to ensure the integrity of this year’s vote “is no longer about any single election.”

He also vowed to pursue a fair and transparent vote counting process “through every aspect of the law,” despite there being no evidence of broad wrongdoing.

The president struck a slightly less combative tone than he has previously this week, ditching his pleas to “stop the count” of ballots as his opponent Joe Biden pulled ahead in two states that would hand him the presidency.

“We believe the American people deserve to have full transparency into all vote counting and election certification, and that this is no longer about any single election,” Trump argued. “This is about the integrity of our entire election process.”

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Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has moved ahead of President Donald Trump in Pennsylvania, a potentially decisive moment in the 2020 White House race.

An infusion of newly counted ballots from the Philadelphia area propelled the former vice president to a lead of roughly 5,500 votes over the Republican incumbent — 49.5-49.4 percent support — with 98 percent of the state’s expected vote tallied.

By noon, Biden had grown his advantage to roughly 9,700 votes.

Prior to the addition of the newly counted votes, Trump maintained a lead over Biden of a little more than 18,000 ballots — 49.6-49.3 percent support — with 97 percent of the vote reported.

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2020 Elections

But some top Republicans are defending Trump, underscoring his tight grip on the party.

A handful of Republicans are beginning to speak out about President Donald Trump’s baseless claims of fraud in the presidential election, with GOP Sens. Susan Collins and Pat Toomey the latest to bat away Trump’s rhetoric as the presidency slips away from him.

Though generally mild in their criticisms, many top elected officials are refusing to echo Trump’s attacks on the electoral system and mail-in ballots. Trump complained he “won” several swing states in which Biden is leading him on Friday morning, claiming he will take it to the Supreme Court and that “there’s going to be a lot of litigation because we have so much evidence, so much proof.”

“Voter fraud is poison to self-government, so these are major allegations,” said Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.). “If the president’s legal team has real evidence, they need to present it immediately to both the public and the courts. In the meantime, all legal votes need to be counted.”

But most of the Republican pushback has come from predictable corners: lawmakers who are retiring, already out of office or have already earned reputations for being Trump critics. And some top Republicans such as House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy have raced to defend Trump, illustrating his tight grip on the party and suggesting a GOP-led intervention isn’t coming anytime soon.

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Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has overtaken President Donald Trump in Georgia, closing the gap in the traditionally Republican stronghold after two full days of vote-counting.

As of Friday morning, Biden was less than 1,000 votes ahead of Trump, with both candidates resting at 49.4 percent support and 99 percent of expected ballots tallied.

By noon, Biden had widened his lead to roughly 1,500 votes, and state election officials announced there would be a recount.

Georgia’s potential flip from red to blue on the still-fluid 2020 map comes as the nation remains fixed on the state and the two other outstanding battlegrounds that could decide the presidency, Nevada and Pennsylvania.

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Facebook tightened its policies on election-related disinformation Thursday, limiting the reach of live videos and misleading posts in the latest effort by the world’s largest social network to tamp down an onslaught of baseless claims about vote-rigging and premature victory claims.

The move comes as Facebook and other social networks face mounting criticism from the left that they are not doing enough to stop the spread of false claims that could undermine faith in the election and results when they’re declared. Some prominent Democrats have called for the platforms to suspend the account of President Donald Trump, whose posts alleging electoral fraud have received warning labels on both Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook said it will now restrict posts on both Instagram and Facebook that its systems flag as misinformation so that they are seen by fewer users. It also is limiting the distribution of election-related live videos on its Facebook platform.

“As vote counting continues, we are seeing more reports of inaccurate claims about the election,” Facebook said in a statement. “While many of these claims have low engagement on our platform, we are taking additional temporary steps, which we’ve previously discussed, to keep this content from reaching more people.”

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Live Updates: 2020 Elections

The president emerged from his post-election silence to assert, without evidence, that state election officials are rigging vote tallies.

Updated

President Donald Trump on Thursday evening listed a string of unfounded conspiracy theories to accuse state election officials of plotting to steal the election from him.

Taking the White House lectern for his first public address since election night, Trump offered no evidence for his assertions that officials are rigging the tallies or for his characterization of mail-in ballots as somehow illegitimate. The address came as his Democratic opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, expands his lead to secure the presidency and as Trump’s path to a second term hinges on winning four key states. Those states have yet to finish counting their ballots amid an unprecedented number of mail-in voting because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“If you count the legal votes, I easily win,” Trump said. “If you count the illegal votes, they can try to steal the election from us. If you count the votes that came in late — we‘re looking at them very strongly, but a lot of votes came in late.”

State elections officials have resoundingly denied they are counting “illegal votes“ and have assured voters that this year’s election was hardly the chaos many feared due to Covid-19. Despite the occasional technical glitch and extended polling-site hours, there were no reports of major issues or interference. Though counting is taking longer this year, there is no support for the position that mailed-in ballots were part of a mass fraud.

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Live Updates: 2020 Election Week

Secretary of State Katie Hobbs said that she hadn’t heard of any instances of election workers in Maricopa County being harmed by the protesters, some of them armed.

Arizona’s secretary of state on Thursday chided protesters who gathered outside of election offices in the state’s largest county, saying the armed demonstrators might be slowing down the vote tally they have been clamoring for.

In an interview with CNN, the Arizona official, Katie Hobbs, said that she hadn’t heard of any instances of election workers in Maricopa County being harmed by the protesters. But “their being there actually is causing delay and disruption and preventing employees from doing their jobs,” she noted.

The protesters who gathered outside the Maricopa elections department on Wednesday night appeared to be proponents of a baseless conspiracy theory known as “SharpieGate,” which falsely asserted that some voters in the county had been given Sharpie pens to mark their ballots, which were in turn unable to be scanned and counted.

Hobbs’ office and Hobbs herself had previously debunked the theory, assuring that ballots filled out with a Sharpie would still be able to be counted.

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