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Trump, Biden locked in race with no clear winner as Nevada vote tightens

Updated November 4, 2020 - 9:02 am

WASHINGTON — The outcome of the 2020 election was left hanging Wednesday morning as President Donald Trump clung to a number of key battleground states he won in 2016 and former Vice President Joe Biden managed to hold key states won by Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Biden was hanging on to Nevada by a thread at 3 a.m. Wednesday when the Nevada secretary of state halted any further counting until later in the morning.

Biden garnered 49.3 percent of the vote, while the president made a late push and had 48.7 percent of the vote. The former vice president had a total of 588,252 votes to Trump’s 580,605 votes.

In Clark County, Biden led Trump, 422,762 to 362,573.

All in-person votes have been counted in Nevada. Late-arriving mail ballots and provisional ballots still need to be tallied.

More results will not be released before 9 a.m. Thursday, the secretary of state’s office tweeted.

With no clear verdict, the nominees were not in a position to declare victory, and many voters went to bed unsure as to who will take the oath of office on Jan. 20.

Biden took a motorcade from his Delaware home to the Chase Center in Wilmington, where he addressed supporters, many honking from their cars, with his wife, Jill Biden, by his side.

“I believe tonight, we’re on track to win this election,” Biden said. He reminded voters that he knew the pandemic would complicate the count and urged his supporters to be patient.

“We could know the results as early as tomorrow morning,” Biden said as he predicted he could win Pennsylvania.

Afterward Trump tweeted, “We are up BIG, but they are trying to STEAL the Election. We will never let them do it. Votes cannot be cast after the Polls are closed!” Trump also said he would issue a statement Tuesday night.

After 2 a.m., Trump entered the East Room where he talked to the press. Trump listed the margins by which he led in North Carolina, Texas and Ohio.

“As far as we’re concerned, we already have won it,” he said.

On Monday, Biden campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon predicted this, telling reporters that “Trump is going to try to go out there and declare victory in an unfounded way and at an early point.”

Trump added that he had foreseen that the count would be held up when states began pushing mail-in ballots.

“So we’ll be going to the U.S. Supreme Court,” he said. “We want all voting to stop. We don’t want them to find any ballots at 4 o’clock in the morning and add them to the list.”

In the first national election during the coronavirus, some state and local officials had to contend with record numbers of mail-in ballots, which thwarted their efforts to produce quick but accurate vote tallies and left decisions by major news organizations to call certain states in limbo.

Results from Nevada were delayed as polls remained open past 9 p.m. and voters who were in line before polls closed were given a chance to vote.

The 2020 electoral map looked like a carbon copy, albeit partial, of the 2016 map, which showed Trump leading in a number of Southern states, including Florida, and Biden holding on to other key states carried by Clinton in 2016.

The Associated Press gave Biden 238 electoral votes to Trump’s 213 electoral votes, with both candidates short of the magic number of 270.

The early results confounded pollsters and pundits, who largely predicted that Biden would win battleground states Trump won four years ago.

Fivethirtyeight gave Biden an 88 percent chance of winning after predicting he would take Florida as well as Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia and North Carolina, states in which Trump was leading.

GOP strategist Alice Stewart told the Review-Journal that the results thus far demonstrated there is a “silent Trump voter” who supported Trump but was reluctant to share his or her politics with others.

“The blue wave is nonexistent,” Bill Whalen of the Hoover Institution noted. “The idea that this was going to be a national referendum against Trump appears not to be the case. It looks like his feverish campaign in the last week has paid off, especially compared to his opponent’s lack of a campaign.”

Even so, Whalen said Trump “could crap out around 260” votes if he loses Pennsylvania. Biden did manage to flip Arizona.

According to Edison Research’s National Election Pool, Arizona had a pronounced gender gap, with Arizona men supporting Biden over Trump 48 percent to 46 percent but Arizona women supporting Biden over Trump 53 percent to 44 percent. Latino voters went 2-to-1 for Biden.

Both Trump and Biden expanded the number of voters who supported their ticket in Florida, with Trump drawing an additional 1 million voters from 4.6 million in 2016 and Biden increasing Clinton’s 4.5 million votes to 5.2 million.

Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Georgia also were among states deemed too close to call.

Candidates speak

After returning to the White House at 3 a.m. Tuesday following five rallies, Trump stopped by the Arlington, Virginia, headquarters of the campaign, where he thanked staffers and volunteers and fielded questions from reporters.

Asked whether he had written an acceptance or concession speech, Trump answered that he had not drafted a speech.

“Winning is easy. Losing is never easy, not for me it’s not,” the president said, adding that his rallies showed “there’s a tremendous love going on in this country.”

Trump also predicted that Tuesday would be a “great night” that would be followed by “a great four years.”

Biden started his day by going to church at St. Joseph on the Brandywine near his home in Wilmington. He then ventured into key battleground state Pennsylvania, where he visited at the home of Sen. Bob Casey’s mother before stopping by his childhood home in Scranton.

Owner Anne Kearns invited Biden inside, where, in a nod to perhaps history in the making, he wrote on the living room wall, “From this house to the White House with the grace of God. Joe Biden 11-2-2020.” Biden also signed a bedroom wall in the home during the 2008 campaign.

‘Philly is the key’

Later in Philadelphia, Biden removed his mask as he told supporters, “Philly’s the key. Philly is the key.”

During a video briefing with reporters Tuesday, O’Malley Dillon said Biden consistently enjoyed an 8-point lead in battleground states, which “allows us to have multiple paths of victory.”

O’Malley Dillon then told reporters that Biden could win all four big battleground states — Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio and Texas — but also added that he doesn’t “need any of these four big states in order to get to 270 electoral votes.”

The Trump team, she said, has fewer paths to win.

Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh later told Fox News that Biden’s comments about “moving away from fracking” hurt him among voters in Pennsylvania.

The opposing teams spent the campaign’s last 48 hours debating whether it would be acceptable for a candidate to declare victory, given the likelihood that some counties and states will be slow in counting mail ballots.

Biden attorney Bob Bauer told reporters to “ignore it” if Trump declares victory because he has “no constitutional, legal right to declare himself the president.”

During a briefing with reporters Monday, O’Malley Dillon said that “under no scenario will Donald Trump be declared a victor tomorrow night.”

Democrats have warned that the vote count could begin with a “red mirage” in which it seems as though Trump had won the Electoral College when in-person ballots are counted but then have his lead evaporate as more mail-in ballots are counted.

During a phone briefing Monday, deputy Trump campaign manager Justin Clark called the “red mirage” scenario misinformation designed to get “states to count illegal late ballots to steal an Election Day victory from Donald Trump.”

Clark recalled how Clinton had warned on Showtime’s “The Circus” in August that “Joe Biden should not concede under any circumstances because I think this is going to drag out, and eventually I do believe he will win if we don’t give an inch and if we are as focused and relentless as the other side is.”

In 2016, Clinton won Nevada by 2.4 percentage points. The latest RealClearPolitics average of states polls puts Biden ahead by 2.4 points in Nevada and by 7.2 percent nationally.

According to the U.S. Elections Project, 445,351 Democrats and 400,248 Republicans were among the 1.1 million Nevadans who voted early.

Contact Debra J. Saunders at dsaunders@reviewjournal.com or 202-662-7391. Follow @DebraJSaunders on Twitter.

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