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Editor Daily Rundown: Trump Sues In Pennsylvania And Michigan, Asks For Recount In Wisconsin

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Vince Coglianese Editorial Director
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HERE COME THE LAWSUITS… Trump sues in Pennsylvania, Michigan; asks for Wis. recount

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump campaign said it filed lawsuits Wednesday in Pennsylvania and Michigan, laying the groundwork for contesting the outcome in undecided battleground states that could determine whether President Donald Trump gets another four years in the White House.

Suits in both states are demanding better access for campaign observers to locations where ballots are being processed and counted, the campaign said. The campaign also is seeking to intervene in a Pennsylvania case at the Supreme Court that deals with whether ballots received up to three days after the election can be counted, deputy campaign manager Justin Clark said.

The campaign said it is calling for a temporary halt in the counting in both states until it is given “meaningful” access in numerous locations and allowed to review ballots that already have been opened and processed. Trump is running slightly behind Democratic nominee Joe Biden in Michigan. The president is ahead in Pennsylvania but his margin is shrinking as more mailed ballots are counted. […]

The campaign also said it would ask for a recount in Wisconsin, a state The Associated Press called for Biden on Wednesday afternoon. Campaign manager Bill Stepien cited “irregularities in several Wisconsin counties.”

 

MICHIGAN…

 

NYT: Biden wins Michigan, fueled by high turnout in Detroit.

BIRMINGHAM, Mich. — Joseph R. Biden Jr. has won the state of Michigan, clawing back another state that was long part of the Democratic Party’s bulwark in the industrial North until President Trump narrowly prevailed four years ago.

Mr. Biden’s narrow win — he was ahead of Mr. Trump by about 67,000 votes, or roughly one percentage point as of late Wednesday afternoon — was the product of extremely high turnout in Detroit, where an underwhelming performance with African Americans in 2016 helped doom Hillary Clinton. Mr. Biden also benefited from a surge of support in the economically and racially diverse suburbs north of the city.

Mr. Trump was also the beneficiary of an energized base of support, which turned out for him in larger numbers than 2016, but it was not enough to outpace Mr. Biden.

 

WISCONSIN…

 

AP: Biden wins Wisconsin, presidency still hangs in balance

WASHINGTON (AP) — On a day of electoral uncertainty and legal action, Joe Biden won Wisconsin on Wednesday, reclaiming a key part of the “blue wall” that slipped away from Democrats four years ago and narrowing President Donald Trump’s pathway to reelection.

The Associated Press called Wisconsin for Biden after election officials in the state said all outstanding ballots had been counted, save for a few hundred in one township and an expected small number of provisional votes.

Trump’s campaign requested a recount. Statewide recounts in Wisconsin have historically changed the vote tally by only a few hundred votes; Biden led by 0.624 percentage point out of nearly 3.3 million ballots counted.

 

PENNSYLVANIA…

 

TRUMP CAMPAIGN DECLARES VICTORY… @TEAMTRUMP: President @realDonaldTrump wins #Pennsylvania!

 

NATE SILVER…

As expected, far more uncounted votes here than elsewhere, mostly mail votes that should be quite Democratic-leaning, though. There are too many outstanding ballots for us to be in the endgame where we can game out exact scenarios, but in counties that have completed reporting, Biden looks to be hitting the targets he needs. Even with the Trump campaign filing a number of lawsuits, the margin is tightening quickly enough that I think this belongs in Lean Biden.

 

GEORGIA…

 

NYT: Biden closes in on Trump in Georgia, where the counting of votes continues.

ATLANTA — The presidential race in Georgia appeared headed for a photo finish as former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. steadily gained ground on President Trump. The victor will be awarded 16 electoral votes.

Mr. Biden had begun Wednesday morning approximately 100,000 votes behind Mr. Trump, but as county elections workers around the state continued the laborious tabulation of absentee ballots into Thursday morning, Mr. Trump’s lead narrowed to 24,000 votes, or 0.5 percent. Under Georgia election law, a candidate may request a recount if the margin is 0.5 or less.

In Fulton County, a Democratic stronghold and home to most of Atlanta, Mr. Biden narrowed the margin by more than 18,000 votes between 5 p.m. and midnight as the work of processing and tabulating the votes continued. In DeKalb County, also part of the metropolitan region, Mr. Biden narrowed it by an additional 5,000. The next update from Georgia’s secretary of state is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on Thursday.

Brad Raffensperger, the Georgia secretary of state, said that as of 10:15 p.m. on Wednesday, there were about 90,735 ballots that still needed to be counted. More than a third of them are in Fulton and DeKalb counties.

If the trajectory of Mr. Biden’s gains continued, it appeared he could overtake Mr. Trump in Georgia by the final tally on Thursday. The question was whether additional absentee votes from rural and more Republican areas would offset enough of Mr. Biden’s gains to preserve Mr. Trump’s lead.

 

ARIZONA…

 

BREAKING OVERNIGHT… ARIZONA JOURNALIST BRIANA WHITNEY:

#BREAKING: Latest batch of Maricopa County results just came in.

Biden: 51%

Trump: 47%

They are now only separated by about 74,500 votes. The gap has narrowed even more. Each release it’s gotten tighter.

About 275k ballots left to count. Next update: Thurs 7 pm #azfamily

 

EARLIER… ARIZONA REPUBLIC: About 600K ballots left to count in Arizona, The Republic estimates as of 11 a.m. Wednesday

At least 600,000 ballots remained to be counted in Arizona as of 11 a.m. Wednesday, according to an Arizona Republic survey of county recorders.

County recorders had told The Republic early Wednesday that they had at least 400,000 ballots remaining to count, but Maricopa County officials didn’t yet know the number of mail-in ballots dropped off on Election Day.

Megan Gilbertson, the Elections Department spokeswoman, confirmed the number of mail-in ballots dropped off on Election Day totaled between 160,000 and 180,000. That along with additional information from the state’s rural counties pushed the number of ballots left to count above 600,000.

The Republic obtained figures from 12 of Arizona’s 15 counties, and not all of those election officials were able to provide a full tally of outstanding early and provisional ballots. Three counties still had not confirmed their totals on Wednesday morning.

 

NATE SILVER:

Wait — outstanding mail votes? Shouldn’t those be good for Biden, as in other states? Well, not necessarily, because Republicans have a fairly strong mail voting program in Arizona and — this is the key part — the mail ballots that were returned later in the process (the ones yet to be continued) were significantly redder than the ones that came in earlier on, as Democrats sent their votes in early. For instance, the party registration of the votes that came in Monday and Tuesday were: 23 percent Democratic, 44 percent Republican, and 33 percent independent or other parties. That is to say, a 21-point GOP edge, which would put Trump on track to tie things up.

But … here’s the bad news for Trump. Party registration may be a misleading indicator in Arizona. It has a lot of ancestral Republicans who have now turned into swing voters. Biden also had a big lead among independents in polls. And earlier batches of mail ballots were considerably stronger for Biden than party registration alone would suggest. So probably these ballots are going to come in more for Trump than for Biden, but not as strongly as he needs.

 

FOX: Trump supporters protest at Arizona voting center while ballots are tallied

Supporters of President Trump took to an Arizona elections center Wednesday night to protest the ongoing ballot counting in the state, according to multiple reports.

Several hundred demonstrators gathered at the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office, located outside Phoenix.

“Count those votes!” they were heard yelling, according to The Arizona Republic.

 

SO WHAT’S LEFT? NYT…

In the presidential race, as of 4:50 p.m. Eastern time, we did not yet know who won Alaska (3 electoral votes), Arizona (11), Georgia (16), Nevada (6), North Carolina (15) or Pennsylvania (20). […]

Alaska may well be the last state to be called, because officials there won’t even begin counting mail ballots, or early in-person ballots cast after Oct. 29, for another week. […]

[Georgia’s] counting should be completed on Wednesday. […]

Mr. Biden has a slim lead in Nevada, but it’s much closer than experts expected going in, and the state will accept mail ballots received through Nov. 10 as long as they were postmarked by Election Day. Because mail ballots tend to lean Democratic, it’s possible that these could expand Mr. Biden’s margin, but we may not know for a week. […]

North Carolina will accept mail-in ballots that arrive through Nov. 12, and it’s possible that the race won’t be called until then. […]

The Trump campaign is also fiercely contesting Pennsylvania ballots in the courts, which could drag the process out for quite some time.

 

OTHER ELECTIONS…

 

Susan Collins claims victory in Maine Senate race, Sara Gideon concedes (COLLINS 51.1%, GIDEON 42.3%)

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, claimed victory over Democrat Sara Gideon on Wednesday afternoon.

“I just received a very gracious call from Sara Gideon conceding the race,” Collins told supporters in Bangor, Maine.

“I feel that this is an affirmation of the work that I’m doing in Washington to fight hard every day for the people of Maine,” she continued. “Finally, let me say that this is an honor that is historical as well. I am the first person since Maine directly elected its senators to win a fifth term.”

 

ANDREW KACZYNSKI: Collins didn’t lead in a poll. (SCREENGRAB)

 

CHUCK ROSS: Lincoln Project spent nearly $2.4 million in opposition to Lindsey Graham, who won by nearly the same margin in 2020 as he did in 2014 when his challenger raised $520k.

 

Michigan Senate race between Peters, James remains close

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Democratic Sen. Gary Peters and Republican rival John James were locked in razor-tight race for Michigan’s Senate seat on Wednesday, with the incumbent clinging to a 5,600-vote lead while absentee votes were still being tallied in Democratic-heavy cities.

More than 5.3 million ballots had been counted as of mid-afternoon, with about 2% of the expected vote outstanding. It was too early to call the race, whose outcome will help shape which party controls the Senate.

 

John James campaign alleges irregularities, lack of integrity in Michigan vote count

Republican John James’ Michigan Senate campaign on Wednesday accused local officials of impropriety, voter suppression, and election interference, as the state continues its counting process to determine which candidate won.

The allegations came as chaos unfolded outside a vote tally room at the TCF Center in downtown Detroit where all mail-in absentee ballots are collected. By Wednesday, officials barred people from coming into the room and had placed cardboard over the windows to obstruct the public’s view.

Stuart Sandler, a consultant for James’ campaign who was on the ground, told Fox News that the campaign is concerned about there being “a lot of irregularities.” He said James’ victory looked sealed until ballots started pouring in during the middle of the night.

“There were all kinds of chicanery, including ballots that came in reportedly in the middle of the night at 3:30 a.m. – 35,000 ballots that were deceptively brought in,” Sandler said. “There have been a lot of irregularities and a lack of integrity. They’re not letting challengers in, they’re not letting them get food or water. When they do, they’re not letting them come back. There’s all sorts of disruptions to the process.”

James, a businessman and Iraq War veteran, is running to unseat Democratic incumbent Sen. Gary Peters.

By mid-afternoon, more than 5.3 million ballots had been counted, with about 1% of the expected vote still outstanding. Still, Fox News has projected that Peters will win the race with 49.61% to James’ 48.51%.

 

AFTER HOUSE LOSSES, DEM FINGER POINTING BEGINS… POLITICO: ‘Dumpster fire’: House Democrats trade blame after Tuesday’s damage

House Democrats are asking themselves one question after Tuesday’s election stunner: What the hell happened?

In the House, bleary-eyed Democrats were still sorting out the wreckage when they awoke Wednesday with dozens of their members’ races still uncalled and not a single GOP incumbent ousted — an outcome that virtually no one in the party had predicted in a year in which Democrats were going on the offense deep in Trump country.

Even with tens of thousands of ballots still to be counted, shell-shocked Democratic lawmakers, strategists and aides privately began trying to pin the blame: The unreliable polls. The GOP’s law-and-order message amid a summer of unrest. The “hidden Trump voters.” The impeachment hangover. The lack of a coronavirus stimulus deal. […]

Democrats were already engaging in rapid-fire finger-pointing about who is to blame for Tuesday’s embarrassing showing, with the private angst likely to spill out into the public in the coming days as the full House landscape becomes known. Several centrist Democrats blamed their more progressive colleagues, saying moderates in Trump-leaning districts couldn’t escape their “socialist” shadow. […]

Several Democrats said the party operation was not focused on a cohesive, proactive message that went beyond simply opposing Trump, who proved to remain popular in many districts. […]

Rep. Henry Cuellar, a senior Blue Dog in south Texas, said some in his party underestimated Trump’s strength, particularly in the farm-heavy counties outside the urban centers, where Democrats have long struggled to develop a message.

“This is what I’ve been saying over and over and over. Urban areas are important, but you still gotta look at the rural areas,” Cuellar said. “If we don’t change the strategy, it’s going to be the same in 2022.”

 

TIME TO PUSH OUT PELOSI? THE HILL: Centrist Democrats talk leadership changes after negative election results

Stung by their party’s dispiriting showing at the polls Tuesday, two moderate House Democrats say they and other centrists are privately discussing a plan that was unthinkable just 24 hours earlier: throwing their support behind a challenger to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

The two Democrats told The Hill on Wednesday that they were reaching out to their colleagues about backing one of Pelosi’s top lieutenants, House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (N.Y.), for Speaker in the next Congress.

“He’s the only one prepared and positioned” to be Speaker, said one of the Democratic lawmakers. “He bridges moderates and progressives better than anyone. And most importantly, he’s not Nancy Pelosi.”

The idea was immediately shot down by Jeffries, who says he’s focused on keeping his current spot. Yet the grumbling reflects a remarkable shift in internal Democratic thinking in the immediate wake of Tuesday’s elections.

 

JOHN DELANEY: “Packing the court” didn’t help us with the Senate races last night. The thing to remember about the “court packing” argument is that it was entirely a self-inflicted wound. Republicans didn’t make this up, Democrats decided to start talking about it right before an election.

 

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Criticizes Democrats For Overlooking Latino Voters In Florida

Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez criticized Democrats for overlooking Latino voters in states where Democratic nominee Joe Biden underperformed in the presidential election, in a tweet Tuesday night.

Ocasio-Cortez tweeted that she has attempted to call attention to Democratic “vulnerabilities” with the Latino community for a “long, long time.”

“There is a strategy and a path, but the necessary effort simply hasn’t been put in,” Ocasio-Cortez said.

“We have work to do,” she added in a reply to her original tweet, with a link to an article by Yahoo News headlined, “Biden campaign doesn’t consider Latinos ‘part of their path to victory,’ political operatives say.” […]

Ocasio-Cortez advocated for the “Defund the Police” movement, which Biden does not support, in an interview with Good Morning America on June 10. She said that the problem is not the lack of resources, but the distribution of the funds which should go to “social programming and investments that prevent crime and social discord in the first place.”

An ABC News/Ipsos poll found that 42% of Hispanics surveyed said they support the movement to defund the police and 42% support reallocating funding to community programs, ABC News reported. The poll showed that 57% are against defunding the police and 58% oppose reallocating funding.

 

POLITICO: Biden looks screwed even if he wins

This is not the outcome Democrats expected.

Despite many bold predictions of a rout in which Democrats gained (or re-gained) Trumpian red territory of 2016, as of early Wednesday only one state — Arizona — had flipped from red to blue. Six states remain outstanding: Georgia, North Carolina, Nevada, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

Assuming North Carolina and Georgia have slipped away from Biden — Georgia is not out of reach for him — and that Nevada remains blue, the best-case scenario for the former vice president is a 290-electoral vote victory. That’s more than George W. Bush achieved in his two successful campaigns (271 in 2000 and 286 in 2004), but fewer than Barack Obama (365 in 2008 and 332 in 2012) and Donald Trump (304 in 2016).

A win, of course, is a win. But if Biden is victorious, it will be under radically curtailed circumstances from what Democrats had assumed.

 

HERE’S THAT MOMENTARY MEDIA INTROSPECTION, AGAIN… BLINK AND YOU’LL MISS IT! … DAVID BROOKS: Our job in the media is to capture reality so that when reality voices itself, like last night, people aren’t surprised. Pretty massive failure. We still are not good at capturing the rightward half of the country.

 

FOX: Riot declared, National Guard activated in downtown Portland; Denver police clash with protesters

At least 11 arrests have been made Wednesday evening after authorities declared that a protest in downtown Portland had turned into a riot.

The riot was declared amid a wave of destruction in the city, which saw people smash windows of local businesses in the downtown area.

Two different groups rallied in separate locations Wednesday, before marching into downtown Portland. One group blocked traffic as protesters crossed the Morrison Bridge.

According to Fox 12 Oregon’s Brenna Kelly, protesters threw a molotov cocktail and glass bottles. One person arrested was found to be in possession of a rifle.

Police also shared photos of items that had been allegedly seized from protesters, which include commercial-grade fireworks, hammers, and spray paint.

 

MORE… Philadelphia, Minneapolis among cities seeing post-election unrest

 

KAREN TOWNSEND: The Gap Calls For Post-Election Unity, Social Media Isn’t Having Any Of It

Clothing retailer The Gap found out the hard way that voters are in no mood to come together and play nice with each other. The Gap posted a tweet with a picture of a red and blue hoodie, one side of the hoodie in red, one side in blue. The message is a simple one: “The one thing we know, is that together, we can move forward.”

It’s so simple and pure that Gap ended up deleting it.

 

CALIFORNIANS REJECT CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TO ALLOW RACIAL DESCRIMINATION…

 

DRUGS WIN RACES NATIONWIDE…

 

NYT: Oregon Decriminalizes Small Amounts of Heroin and Cocaine; Four States Legalize Marijuana

OAKLAND, Calif. — The march to decriminalize drugs moved further across the nation on Tuesday despite continued federal prohibition.

Oregon became the first state to decriminalize small amounts of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and other drugs. And in New Jersey, South Dakota, Montana and Arizona, voters decisively passed laws legalizing recreational marijuana. Cannabis is now legal across a large bloc of states in the West — from Washington down to the Mexican border — and well beyond.

Cannabis was also on the ballot in Mississippi. If all of the marijuana measures pass, marijuana will be legal for medical use in three dozen states and recreational use will be allowed in 15.

The Oregon measure makes possession of small amounts of what have long been considered harder drugs a violation, similar to a traffic ticket, and no longer punishable by jail time. The law also funds drug addiction treatment from marijuana sales taxes. […]

Separately, Oregon voters also legalized psilocybin, known as magic mushrooms, for people age 21 and older. Proponents said the move would allow the drug to be used to treat depression, anxiety and other conditions.

 

WAPO: D.C. voters appear to approve ballot question to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms

A D.C. ballot initiative to decriminalize the use of magic mushrooms and other psychedelic substances had a commanding lead Tuesday after a months-long campaign in which supporters collected signatures during the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

Voters were deciding whether the nation’s capital would join a handful of cities moving to decriminalize certain psychedelic plants and fungi. The measure states it would make prosecution of those who use and sell the substances “among the Metropolitan Police Department’s lowest law enforcement priorities.”

Early results showed the measure had the approval of about three-quarters of voters.

The D.C. Board of Elections allowed Initiative 81, also known as the Entheogenic Plant and Fungus Policy Act of 2020, on the ballot amid a $700,000 campaign in which proponents collected 25,000 signatures during the pandemic. The board’s decision came amid a nationwide debate about policing and the medical value of psychedelic drugs, which supporters say are beneficial in treating trauma.

The nation’s capital appeared to become at least the fifth jurisdiction in the nation with some form of decriminalized psychedelics, joining Denver; Oakland, Calif.; Santa Cruz, Calif.; and Ann Arbor, Mich., where the city council approved decriminalization in September.

 

CORONAVIRUS…

 

ITALY GOES INTO FRESH ROUND OF LOCKDOWNS… NYT: Italy will lock down six regions and bar people in many situations from crossing between them.

The Italian government announced Wednesday night that it will lock down a significant portion of the country, including the northern regions that are its economic engine, in an effort to stop a resurgent wave of coronavirus infections.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced that the measures, the most drastic since the nationwide lockdown in March, will take effect on Friday and will seal off six regions in the country’s deeply infected north and highly vulnerable, and poorer, south.

“The situation is particularly critical,” Mr. Conte said at an evening news conference. He said the virus was moving at a “strong and even violent” pace.

Across Europe, efforts to halt a second wave of coronavirus cases with piecemeal measures are being replaced by far stricter rules — and hurried efforts to bolster health systems that could quickly reach capacity in the coming weeks. Starting Thursday, England will be under a second lockdown, while Italians will face a 10 p.m. curfew. Poland will shut schools and shops this weekend, and Lithuania will enter a full lockdown. Switzerland has called in the army to bolster hospitals. And France’s health minister is pushing to extend a state of emergency until February.