Election Day, Part Deux: Recap, Open Thread, and Latest News
So here is where we are as of Wednesday Morning:
4 States That Will Decide the Presidency:
After all the upheaval of the past year and the drama and turmoil of President Donald Trump’s first term, Wisconsin once again went down to the wire in the 2020 election, as the returns that dragged into the early morning Wednesday came to uncannily resemble the ultra-close 2016 vote.
Democrat Joe Biden overtook Trump in early morning hours when the city of Milwaukee finally reported its roughly 170,000 absentee votes, which were overwhelmingly Democratic.
Trump had nurtured a lead of more than 100,000 votes before that. With Biden up by about 8,000 votes, there were still votes to be reported from the city of Kenosha and Green Bay, Democratic-leaning communities.
While Trump did worse in much of metropolitan Milwaukee and Madison than he did four years ago, he did a little better in much of northern and central Wisconsin. The urban-rural political divide widened. Dane County came in massively for Biden, who carried the county by more than 180,000 votes, compared to Hillary Clinton’s margin of roughly 146,000 in 2016. Trump also continued to lose some ground in the Republican outer suburbs of Milwaukee.
But Trump matched or exceeded his lopsided 2016 margins in many smaller counties across central, northern and western Wisconsin. And the race ended up being far tighter than the pre-election polling suggested, an echo of four years ago.
In a closing crescendo of campaign travel, Trump made five trips to Wisconsin in the final month of the race amid a surging coronavirus caseload. Biden made his only October visit to the state on the Friday before the election. Trump drew big crowds. Biden outspent Trump heavily in the home stretch on TV in the state’s most important media markets — Milwaukee and Green Bay.
Wisconsin Vote Track can be found here:
For the second presidential election in a row, Michigan sits squarely in the path to the White House.
As the national map falls mostly along the same lines as in 2016, three big Midwestern states were still outstanding early Wednesday morning: Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and — you guessed it — Michigan. The states, once considered part of the ‘blue wall,’ went to President Donald Trump in 2016 and helped hand him his 2016 victory. In the 2020 election, with Trump facing off against former Vice President Joe Biden, they’re shaping up to be just as important.
As for Michigan specifically, “I think it’s quite important, potentially decisive in lots of scenarios,” said Michigan State University Institute for Public Policy and Social Research Director Matt Grossmann. As of 5 a.m., all three Midwestern states were too close to call, according to The Associated Press. Michigan’s vote totals favored Trump, 51.72% to 46.68% as of 5 a.m., with 81% of the projected vote counted, according to The Associated Press.
However, in many parts of the state, the absentee vote — which is expected to lean Democratic — is still outstanding. Because of that glaring issue, “I just don’t know if we know yet, is it going to be on the tipping point or close to it, or is it going to go very far one way?” Grossmann said of Michigan’s vote.
Presidential candidates need 270 electoral college votes to secure the spot, and Michigan wields 16 electoral votes — more than Wisconsin’s 10 and fewer than Pennsylvania’s 20.
The good news? We should know about Michigan by today:
Michigan's Secretary of State now predicts all of the state's votes will be counted within the next 24 hours, as opposed to Nov. 6., @JanetShamlian reports.
At least 92% of Michigan's requested absentee ballots have been returned. pic.twitter.com/SkGA7nFWKo
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) November 4, 2020
Michigan Vote Tracker can be found here:
Joe Biden maintains a narrow lead in Nevada over President Donald Trump, but the state’s six electoral votes and the results of many other major congressional, statewide and local races remain up in the air after initial returns on Election Night.
As of early Wednesday, Biden and Democratic congressional candidates running in the state’s two competitive House districts — Susie Lee and Steven Horsford— maintained narrow leads over their Republican opponents, but no news outlets have called the races given a large number of outstanding ballots yet to be tallied.
Down the ballot, it appeared unlikely that Democrats would have supermajorities in either chamber of the Legislature next year, while a well-funded ballot question to take the Board of Regents out of the state Constitution appeared in danger amid strong rural opposition.
More than 1.2 million Nevadans cast a ballot in the general election, although it’s unclear what the total turnout will be as last-minute ballots mailed in or dropped off have not yet been tallied.
The presidential race in Nevada remained too close to call Wednesday night with former Vice President Joe Biden leading over President Donald Trump by a narrow 2.1 percentage points, or about 23,000 votes. Hillary Clinton defeated Trump by 2.4 percentage points in the Silver State four years ago.
Nevada Vote Tracker can be found here:
The Biden campaign had long hoped for a landslide that would make Pennsylvania unnecessary to its overall victory, but that has not materialised.
A couple of hours after the polls closed, it became clear Biden was unlikely to win Florida, and that other corners of the Sun Belt also looked tight. This means, as many analysts projected, the heated 2020 presidential election is coming down to Pennsylvania and other former industrial states like it.
As the fifth largest state in America by population, Pennsylvania has 20 electoral college votes, a potentially decisive sum. On Tuesday afternoon, the New Statesman’s election tracker put Joe Biden’s chances of winning there at 76 per cent.
But Donald Trump’s 2016 victory in Pennsylvania was a surprise: the state voted Democrat in six previous elections. The president has spent the weeks leading up to this year’s election claiming, with no evidence, that the mail-in vote in Pennsylvania would be rigged against him and that the result should be decided on Tuesday night.
On Sunday, he told reporters: “As soon as that election is over, we’re going in with our lawyers. I don’t think it’s fair that we have to wait a long period of time after the election.”
Democrats had hoped that a blowout victory for Biden in states such as Florida and North Carolina would allow them to secure victory without giving Republicans the opportunity to challenge mail-in votes in states such as Pennsylvania. Instead, Trump pulled ahead in many south-eastern states, enshrining the importance of the Rust Belt region that decided the 2016 race.
Pennsylvania Vote Tracker can be found here:
President Trump Remarks
— TIMES NOW (@TimesNow) November 4, 2020
Joe Biden Remarks
Tune in as I speak to the nation live from Wilmington, Delaware. https://t.co/ye8knRucoz
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) November 4, 2020
Securing the Senate majority will be vital for the winner of the presidency. Senators confirm administration nominees, including the Cabinet, and can propel or stall the White House agenda. With Republicans now controlling the chamber, 53-47, three or four seats will determine party control, depending on who wins the presidency because the vice president can break a tie in the Senate.
Democrats contested seats from New England to the Deep South and the Midwest to the Mountain West, reaching deep into GOP strongholds. But by early Wednesday, the tally was not too different from before Election Day.
The Democrats’ gains were in Colorado and Arizona, where former astronaut Mark Kelly beat GOP incumbent Martha McSally. But they couldn’t hold on in Alabama: Former college football coach Tommy Tuberville defeated Sen. Doug Jones.
Several battlegrounds broke for Republicans: In South Carolina, Graham survived the race of his political career against Harrison; in Texas, Sen. John Cornyn turned back former Air Force helicopter pilot MJ Hegar; in Iowa, Sen. Joni Ernst defeated Democrat Theresa Greenfield in a race seen as a toss-up; in Montana, Sen. Steve Daines routed Gov. Steve Bullock; and in Kansas, Rep. Roger Marshall prevailing over state Sen. Barbara Bollier, a former Republican who energized Democrats in a state that hasn’t elected a Democrat to the Senate since 1932.
The final breakdown awaited the outcome of races in Alaska, Maine, Michigan, North Carolina and Maine.
“Tonight, House Democrats are poised to further strengthen our majority — the biggest, most diverse, most dynamic, women-led House majority in history,” Pelosi said.
“We’re well positioned to have a good night,” Bustos agreed.
The warning signs for Democrats started early in South Florida, when two first-term Democratic incumbents who were projected to win reelection, Reps. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell and Donna Shalala, trailed Republican challengers. There, Biden’s underperformance among Latinos and Republicans’ repeated attacks on the Democratic Party as socialist appeared to undercut both women.
Shalala — an influential Democrat who served as health and human services secretary under President Bill Clinton and was rated as “likely” to win — lost to a Cuban American journalist she had bested by six percentage points in 2018, María Elvira Salazar. Mucarsel-Powell, who was born in Ecuador and was the first South American immigrant to serve in Congress, lost to Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos A. Giménez despite outraising him.
Then, Republicans quickly started to lock down districts Democrats were bullish they would flip. In Indiana, a top target for Democrats, the suburban seat of retiring Rep. Susan Brooks (R) appeared to fall out of reach of Democratic candidate Christina Hale, who trailed Republican Victoria Spartz. And in suburban Cincinnati, Rep. Steve Chabot (R) — another prime Democratic target whose race was considered a toss-up — took the lead for his 13th term representing the Cincinnati area against Kate Schroder.
By 2 a.m., any elation on the Democrats’ part had faded entirely as the Associated Press began calling races for Republicans, including several involving star Democratic freshmen. Rep. Max Rose, the blunt-talking ex-veteran and New Yorker who won in a district Trump carried by double digits, lost. In Oklahoma, Rep. Kendra Horn conceded her race.
Meanwhile, Democratic Rep. Abby Finkenauer, who won her seat in northeast Iowa two years ago, fell to state Rep. Ashley Hinson (R), a former journalist. And in the costliest House race in South Carolina, Democratic Rep. Joe Cunningham was defeated by Republican Nancy Mace. Cunningham had taken pains to distance himself from Democratic leaders, voting against Pelosi as speaker.
Even Minnesota’s Rep. Collin C. Peterson — who has represented the state’s 7th District for three decades and has withstood a series of GOP-wave elections — lost to former lieutenant governor Michelle Fischbach. Peterson had won in 2016 despite Trump carrying the district by 30 points.
The number of Democratic incumbents defeated — which also included Rep. Xochitl Torres Small in New Mexico — came as Republicans held on in vulnerable suburban areas. In Missouri, Rep. Ann Wagner, the leader of the GOP’s Suburban Caucus, held on in a race labeled a “toss-up.” So too did Reps. French Hill of Arkansas and Rodney Davis of Illinois.
To be sure, Democrats had some wins. The party early on picked up two open seats in North Carolina, taking full advantage of redrawn congressional maps, as well as GOP retirements. Deborah Ross, who ran for the Senate four years ago, defeated a Republican and Libertarian candidate to secure North Carolina’s 2nd District. Kathy Manning, a lawyer and community fundraiser, defeated Republican and small-business owner Lee Haywood in the 6th District.
But those wins belied the predictions of many House Democrats and even nonpartisan political handicappers who had projected the party would drastically expand the map. Indeed, Democrats were so confident that they had started spending millions in districts Trump won by 10 points in 2016, even running TV ads in places like Montana and Alaska, which have been in GOP hands for decades.
As it turns out, that money may have been better used on their own turf or in the more competitive races.
Also of note:
First-term Democrats who flipped R-controlled seats in 2018 but have conceded their 2020 races/been projected to lose by @DecisionDeskHQ:
— Grace Panetta (@grace_panetta) November 4, 2020