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With millions of votes yet to be counted, President Trump falsely asserted election fraud, pledged to mount a legal challenge to official state results and made a premature claim of victory in a bitterly contested race that may take days to resolve. In remarks at the White House early Wednesday, Trump claimed that he won several states that are still counting ballots, including Georgia, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.

His Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, insisted earlier that “we believe we’re on track to win this election” and pleaded for patience, citing Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan, where votes were still being tallied. “It ain’t over till every vote is counted,” Biden said.

Here’s the latest on Election Day …
November 4, 2020 at 4:15 AM EST
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Biden campaign manager calls Trump claims on ballots ‘outrageous, unprecedented and incorrect’

By Antonia Farzan

Biden’s campaign manager slammed Trump’s early-morning statement, in which he falsely described continuing to count votes as fraud, calling it “outrageous, unprecedented, and incorrect.”

In a statement, Jen O’Malley Dillon described Trump’s speech as “a naked effort to take away the democratic rights of American citizens.” She said it was not up to the president to make such a call.

“The counting will not stop,” she wrote. “It will not stop until every duly cast vote is counted. Because that is what our laws — the laws that protect every American’s constitutional right to vote — require.”

O’Malley Dillon added that the Biden campaign has “legal teams standing by ready to deploy” if Trump seeks court intervention.

November 4, 2020 at 4:00 AM EST
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Republicans, Democrats condemn Trump’s false claim of victory, say all votes should be counted

By Colby Itkowitz

Trump allies and opponents criticized his pledge to challenge states still counting votes, as well as the president’s false claim that he has already won the election.

Chris Christie, a former GOP governor of New Jersey and close Trump ally, said all outstanding votes must be counted. “All these votes have to be counted that are in now. … Tonight was not the time to make this argument,” he said on ABC News. “I disagree with what he did tonight.”

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), who has voiced opposition to Trump in the past, tweeted at the president to “stop.”

“Stop. Full stop. The votes will be counted and you will either win or lose. And America will accept that. Patience is a virtue,” Kinzinger wrote.

Several Fox reporters and pundits also panned Trump’s claim to victory before all the voters’ ballots are counted. Dana Perino called it “deeply irresponsible,” while Juan Williams said it was “beyond the pale.”

Meanwhile, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania, where these battles may play out most dramatically, pledged that every vote would be counted.

“We still have over 1 million mail ballots to count in Pennsylvania. I promised Pennsylvanians that we would count every vote, and that’s what we’re going to do,” Wolf said. “Let’s be clear: This is a partisan attack on Pennsylvania’s elections, our votes, and democracy. Our counties are working tirelessly to process votes as quickly AND as accurately as possible. Pennsylvania will have a fair election, and we will count every vote.”

November 4, 2020 at 3:07 AM EST
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With millions of votes yet to be counted, Trump falsely asserts fraud and makes a claim of victory

By Colby Itkowitz and Josh Dawsey

Trump threatened to ask the Supreme Court to intervene in the election process, saying voting had to stop and falsely claiming that by continuing to count votes already cast, the Democrats would be stealing the election. Polls have closed, and no more votes are being cast, only tallied.

Speaking to about 150 maskless supporters inside the East Room of the White House, Trump made a claim of victory in states where millions of mail-in ballots are still being counted.

He falsely described the situation as a “major fraud in our nation” and vowed to take his case to the Supreme Court.

Voting did stop when polls closed Tuesday night, but in states including Pennsylvania and Michigan, counting the millions of mail-in ballots couldn’t begin until Election Day and may take several days to complete.

Trump wrongly declared himself the winner of the election and wants the vote-counting to stop while he has a lead in the same-day voting tallies.

“To me, this is a very sad moment, and we will win this. And as far as I’m concerned, we already have,” he said.

Guests included former senior adviser Kellyanne Conway, former 2016 campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and Fox News personalities Laura Ingraham and Jeanine Pirro. Those in the crowd chanted “U-S-A” and cheered wildly for Trump’s false assertion of victory.

November 4, 2020 at 3:00 AM EST
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Republican Sen. Steve Daines of Montana deals another blow to Democratic pickup hopes

By Paulina Firozi

Republican Sen. Steve Daines (R) is projected to stave off a loss, winning reelection to his second term in the Senate.

Daines fought off a challenge from term-limited Democratic Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, a big name who had won statewide three times. The staunch Trump ally was locked in a tight race with Bullock in the state the president won by more than 20 percentage points in 2016.

The Republican’s victory further narrows Democrats’ chances of wresting control of the Senate.

“I ran for office twelve years ago with one goal in mind: to make a meaningful difference in people’s lives. I have been so pleased with how we have been able to bring people together in Montana — even when we don’t always agree — to improve the lives of our families and our communities,” Bullock said in a statement conceding the race.

The pair clashed during the campaign over the response to the pandemic — a GOP super PAC ran ads about the state’s response.

Environmental issues also played a key role in the race for Senate in the Big Sky state. Daines, who has spent the latter half of his Senate term boosting his environmental records, touted himself as a “conservative conservationist.” His key legislative win was persuading the president to sign a bill called one of the most important environmental laws in decades.

November 4, 2020 at 2:57 AM EST
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Republicans flip House seats in Oklahoma and Minnesota, hold on to a seat in Nebraska

By Paulina Firozi

Republican Stephanie Bice has unseated incumbent Democratic Rep. Kendra Horn in Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District.

Horn, who flipped a Republican district in 2018 in a surprise win for Democrats, had distanced herself from Biden in recent weeks after he suggested in the final presidential debate that he would “transition” away from oil.

The district includes Oklahoma City, one of the country’s oil capitals.

In another flip by Republicans, Michelle Fischbach won in Minnesota’s 7th Congressional District.

She defeated 15-term Democratic Rep. Collin C. Peterson, one of the most vulnerable House Democrats, in a rural district Trump won by double digits in 2016.

In Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District, Republican Rep. Don Bacon defeated Democratic challenger Kara Eastman.

This is the second time Bacon defeated Eastman, who lost a challenge against Bacon in 2018.

November 4, 2020 at 2:20 AM EST
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The latest potential paths to victory

By Aaron Blake

The presidential race will probably remain up in the air in the hours and days to come, but the paths to victory have crystallized as election night has worn into Wednesday morning.

Trump’s path to victory increasingly runs through Pennsylvania, which has polled as the closest of three Midwestern/Rust Belt states that he carried narrowly in 2016. But Pennsylvania alone wouldn’t be sufficient at this point, particularly if Biden turns Arizona blue, which current results suggest is likely.

The Fix runs through all the scenarios here, with this one looking like the likeliest to get Trump near 270 votes:

November 4, 2020 at 2:11 AM EST
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Trump wins Texas, crushing ‘Blue Texas’ dreams once again

By David Weigel

Trump is projected to win Texas’s 38 electoral college votes, according to Edison Research.

Recent polls have showed a surprisingly tight race, and astronomical turnout — the state surpassed the total number of votes cast in all of 2016 nearly a week before Election Day.

Democrats started to dream about winning Texas after 2008, when Barack Obama became the first Democratic presidential candidate since Lyndon B. Johnson to carry Texas’s biggest urban counties. Republicans started to warn about it in 2013, when Obama campaign veterans created a group to find and empower hundreds of thousands of non-White Texans who didn’t vote.

One year later, Republicans dominated every statewide race — as they had for 20 years — and made inroads with Hispanic voters. “Blue Texas” became a punchline.

Then came Donald Trump. In 2016, after dispatching Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas to win the Republican nomination, Trump defeated Hillary Clinton here by nine percentage points — a smaller margin than any Republican nominee since Bob Dole. It got closer because of Trump’s weakness in the state’s fast-growing cities and suburbs, which optimistic Republicans saw as a fluke. Two years later, Democrats picked up two House seats, sliced away at the GOP’s state legislative majority and came within five points of winning several statewide races, including the one for Cruz’s seat.

But picking up House seats and winning statewide office proved to be two different beasts. In 2018, Republicans held on to their statewide offices, despite further suburban attrition thanks to high turnout in conservative East and North Texas, and middling Democratic turnout with Latino voters in the Rio Grande Valley.

Clinton carried four of Texas’s five most populous counties, containing the cities of Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin and San Antonio, and where a total of 3,809,602 votes were cast. But 57 percent of the total statewide vote came from outside those counties. Unlike Arizona, where defeat in the suburbs can close off the GOP’s path to a majority, Texas has millions of rural, White, conservative voters who are alienated from the modern Democratic Party and can overwhelm it with high turnout.

November 4, 2020 at 1:52 AM EST
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Mississippi voters choose new flag design to replace Confederate emblem

By Meryl Kornfield

Mississippi voters approved a new state flag design with a magnolia flower on a blue background and red and yellow outer stripes — retiring a 126-year-old banner that featured the Confederate battle emblem.

About 70 percent of voters were in favor of the new design, according to the Associated Press. The state was the last one to eliminate the symbol of the Confederacy — which many consider analogous with segregation, slavery and racism — from its flag, following a drawn-out effort. Voters had previously chosen to preserve the flag in a statewide referendum in 2001, but renewed calls in the wake of George Floyd’s killing and racial justice protests pushed the measure forward.

State lawmakers voted to decommission the flag in June, and then the magnolia design was selected by a nine-person commission and put on the ballot. The choice for voters was “yes” or “no” on the design.

The flag has the phrase “In God We Trust” below the state flower, which is encircled with 20 stars representing the order the state joined the United States. There’s also a Choctaw-inspired star to represent Indigenous people.

November 4, 2020 at 12:54 AM EST
David Weigel: Heading into tonight, two nightmares gripped Democrats: That there would be serious disruption at voting sites, and that the president would declare victory on the way to suing to disqualify ballots. The first scenario didn’t unfold, and the president actually tweeted his prediction of a win, and his desire for late-arriving ballots to not be counted, after Biden had already stepped in front of cameras to say he was likely to win.
David Weigel, National reporter covering politics
November 4, 2020 at 12:43 AM EST
David Weigel: There’s a rumor going around on Twitter that Fox News has retracted its call of Arizona for Biden and Kelly. That’s not true. The network is basing its early call, which hasn’t been matched by the AP, on the same thing that makes Democrats confident: They didn’t see enough strongly pro-Trump votes coming out on election day, and before that, Biden ran stronger with Republicans than Trump ran with Democrats.
David Weigel, National reporter covering politics
November 3, 2020 at 11:52 PM EST
David Weigel: There are plenty of bright spots for Republicans in House districts that broke for Trump in 2016, but reelected Democrats in 2018. The question: What happens in those places when all the votes are counted? In Illinois, for example, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chair Cheri Bustos (D), who ran 20 points ahead of Hillary Clinton in 2016 and had no serious challenger in 2018, was trailing narrowly after half the votes were counted in her district. Republicans have been losing suburbs by expected margins, but doing better with Election Day rural votes.
David Weigel, National reporter covering politics