ROLLING COVERAGE:Biden camp says Trump claim 'outrageous'

 

Welcome to our live coverage of the US presidential election.

This is it, election night. There's nothing Donald Trump or Joe Biden can do to win over voters now. The campaign is over, and now it's all about counting the votes.

Read on for all the latest news from election night, and most importantly, all the results as they come in.

Twitter, Facebook flag Trump's post

Twitter has flagged a tweet by Donald Trump, in which he claimed he was "up big" and cast doubt on election results.

"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!" Mr Trump tweeted earlier this evening.  

The tweet is now blocked by a banner that reads: "Some or all of the content shared in this Tweet is disputed and might be misleading about an election or other civic process."  

Facebook, meanwhile, said it was flagging posts by both candidates so people knew votes were still being counted.

Yes, votes are still being counted

To be really clear about this: despite Donald Trump's declaration that all vote counting should cease immediately, votes are absolutely still being counted.  

In Philadelphia - in the critical battleground state of Pennsylvania - election commissioner Al Schmidt has vowed to count every last vote.

Trump ally: 'No basis' for fraud claims

Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a Republican and close ally to Donald Trump, said he disagreed with the comments made by the President about voter fraud accusations and his threat of Supreme Court action.  

"There's just no basis to make that argument tonight." he told ABC News. "There just isn't.  

"All these votes have to be counted that are in now … Tonight was not the time to make this argument.  

"I disagree with what he did tonight."  

Mr Christie said the process had to be played out until it could be judged to be flawed.  

"If there is a flaw in it later, he has undercut his own credibility in calling attention to that flaw," he said.  

"I think it's a bad strategic decision, I think it's a bad political decision." 

Dead candidate wins seat

A Republican candidate has won a state legislative seat in North Dakota, even though he died from COVID-19 a month ago.  

David Andahl died aged 55 on October 5, days after he was hospitalised with the virus.  

He was one of the two Republican candidates elected today to represent the state's 8th district.  

The state Republican party is expected to appoint a replacement for Andahl.

Biden camp calls Trump's claims 'outrageous'

Joe Biden's campaign manager has responded to Donald Trump's comments about the election in his speech earlier, calling them "outrageous".  

"The president's statement tonight about trying to shut down the counting of duly cast ballots was outrageous, unprecedented, and incorrect," Jen O'Malley Dillon said in a statement.  

"It was outrageous because it is a naked effort to take away the democratic rights of American citizens.  

"It was unprecedented because never before in our history has a president of the United States sought to strip Americans of their voice in a national election. Having encouraged Republican efforts in multiple states to prevent the legal counting of these ballots before Election Day, now Donald Trump is saying these ballots can't be counted after Election Day either.  

"And it was incorrect because it will not happen. The counting will not stop. It will continue until every duly cast vote is counted. Because that is what our laws - the laws that protect every Americans' constitutional right to vote - require."

Ms O'Malley Dillon reiterated neither candidate decided the outcome of the election:

"The American people decide the outcome of this election. And the democratic process must and will continue until its conclusion."  

Where the race currently stands

So, this is the current state of the race as we tick over 3am here in the United States.  

Neither candidate has yet reached the required threshold of 270 electoral votes.

It all hinges on the outcome of four states - Georgia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan.  

Donald Trump is currently leading in all four of them. However, millions of votes still need to be counted, and the bulk of them are mail-in ballots, which will favour Joe Biden.  

When all those votes are counted, it is conceivable that either candidate will be the victor.  

A few minutes ago, the President claimed he had "already won". That is false. He may very well win! It depends what the tally looks like, in those key states, when all the legally cast ballots have actually been counted.  

Trump making contradictory arguments    

Donald Trump is, on the one hand, complaining that Fox News called the state of Arizona for his opponent tonight. His argument there is that, even though Joe Biden is leading, votes are still to come, and they might push him over the top. On the other hand, Mr Trump is saying the vote count should be halted in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, because he is leading in those states. Even though there are millions of votes still to count.  

'Lacks any basis': Election lawyer responds to Trump

OK. Speaking at the White House, Donald Trump claimed he had "already won" the election.

Let me be really damn clear about this. The President's claim here is false. Mr Trump may very well win the election when all the votes are counted, but as things stand, neither candidate has reached the threshold of 270 electoral votes required to win.

"This is without question the latest news conference I have ever had," Mr Trump said.

"I want to thank the American people for their tremendous support.

"Millions and millions of people voted for us today. A very sad group of people is trying to disenfranchise that group of people.

"We were getting ready for a big celebration. We were winning everything, and all of a sudden it was just called off. The results tonight have been phenomenal, and we are getting ready - literally we were getting ready to get outside and celebrate something that was so beautiful and so good.

"We won states that we weren't expected to win. Florida, we didn't win it, we won it by a lot.

"We won the great state of Ohio. We won Texas. We won Texas by 700,000 votes and they don't even include it in the tabulations.

"It's also clear that we have won Georgia. We're up by 2.5 per cent or 117,000 votes with only 7 per cent left. They're never going to catch us.

"We've clearly won North Carolina, where we're up 1.4 per cent, or 77,000 votes with only 5 per cent left. They can't catch us.

"If you look and you see, Arizona we have a lot of life in that. Somebody declared it was a victory for, and maybe it will be, it's possible. But there's a lot of voters.

"We don't even need it, we don't need that. That's just a state that we would have gotten and it would have been nice.

"Most importantly, we're winning Pennsylvania by a tremendous amount as well. We're up 600,000, think of this, we're up 690,000 votes in Pennsylvania. These aren't even close.

"With 64 per cent of the vote in, it's going to be almost impossible to catch. And we're coming into good Pennsylvania areas where they happen to like your president.

"We're winning Michigan. I looked at the numbers, I said whoa. I said wow, that's a lot.

"We're winning Wisconsin. We don't need all of them. When you add Texas in, which wasn't added.

"When you take those three states in particular, and you take all of the others. You just take a look at all of these states, and you look at the margins that we've won them by.

"We won states, and all of a sudden, I said what's happened to the election, it's off?

"You know what happened? They knew we couldn't win. So they said, let's go to court.

"Either they were going to win, or if they didn't win, they'll take us to court.

"This is a fraud on the American public. This is an embarrassment to our country. We were getting ready to win this election. Frankly, we did win this election. So our goal now is to ensure the integrity, for the good of the nation, we want the law to be used in a proper manner.

"So we'll be going to the Supreme Court. We want all voting to stop. We don't want them to find any ballots at 4am in the morning and add them to the list. It's a very sad moment. To me, this is a very sad moment.

"As far as I'm concerned, we already have won it."

 

Trump is about to speak

Donald Trump is going to speak from the White House's East Room soon. There are a great many American flags in shot, presumably to remind us all which country we're covering after however many hours this blog has been going.

Stand by, we'll bring you the President's comments imminently.

 

Where the national popular vote stands

It has just occurred to me that I haven't mentioned the national popular vote once tonight. In my defence, it doesn't have any influence whatsoever on the result.

For the record, Joe Biden has won 64.5 million votes so far, and Donald Trump has won 63 million. That means the President has already passed his total from 2016.

The gap will grow as more votes come in, particularly from California, but also from those Rust Belt states.

 

Republican congressman tells Trump to 'stop'

If Donald Trump does try to claim foul play as election officials keep counting the votes, he will get pushback from at least some members of his own party.

Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger won re-election easily tonight with two-thirds of the vote in his race.

 

Biden wins Nebraska's second district

Speaking of Nebraska's second congressional district, all the US networks have now called it for Joe Biden.  

That's one more electoral vote for the Democrat.

And if you think that won't have any significance in the endgame here, you haven't been paying attention to 2020.

Two districts award one electoral vote each

This election is so  close that it might actually come down to two obscure congressional districts, which award a single electoral vote each.  

At the moment, Joe Biden is leading 53-45 in Nebraska's second congressional district, with 94 per cent of the vote counted.  

Meanwhile, Donald Trump leads 52-45 in Maine's second congressional district, with just 46 per cent of the vote counted.  

Remember, each awards one electoral vote.

Twitter slaps warning on Trump's tweet

Twitter has just slapped a misinformation warning on one of Donald Trump's tweets.  

"Some or all of the content in this tweet is disputed and might be misleading about an election or other civic process," the warning says.  

"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!" Mr Trump said.  

The President is not going to appreciate Twitter's stance here. That said, there are two dubious statements in his tweet.  

First, there is no evidence of the Democrats "trying to steal" the election.

There is evidence of Democrats saying the remaining votes should be counted, which is how democracy works.  

There is every possibility Mr Trump will still be ahead in these key states when all those ballots have been tallied.   Second, there is no evidence of votes being cast "after the polls are closed".

Some of these states do count mail-in ballots if they arrive a few days after the election, as long as they are postmarked by election day.   

This is entirely legal, and absolutely not the same thing as votes being cast after the polls shut.    

 

Big boost for Republicans' Senate hopes

Republican Senator Joni Ernst has won re-election in Iowa, which is a fabulous result for her party as it tries to keep control of the Senate.

She's leading her challenger 52-45, and that's a big enough gap.

Trump says election is 'a big win'

Donald Trump is going to speak soon.

Sounds like he's going down the "they're stealing the election" route, which should make for a dramatic few days ahead.

I've had to screenshot one of the tweets. It has been deleted, because the President misspelled the word "polls".

Big boost for Republicans' Senate hopes

Republican Senator Joni Ernst has won re-election in Iowa, which is a fabulous result for her party as it tries to keep control of the Senate.   She's leading her challenger 52-45, and that's a big enough gap.

 

Joe Biden addresses the non-result

Joe Biden just briefly addressed his supporters.

I mean, I say "addressed". He shouted into the microphone. Volume control not a strong suit of the Democratic nominee.

"Your patience is commendable. We knew this was going to go long, but who knew we were going to go into tomorrow morning, maybe longer?" he said.

"We feel good about where we are. We believe we're on track to win this election.

"We're going to have to be patient until the hard work of tallying votes is completed. And it ain't over until every vote is counted. But we're feeling good about where we are.

"We're confident about Arizona, that's a turnaround. We also just called it for Minnesota. And we're still in the game in Georgia. And we're feeling real good about Wisconsin and Michigan.

"It's going to take time to count the votes, but we're going to win Pennsylvania.

"We could know the results as early as tomorrow, maybe a little longer.

"It's not my place or Donald Trump's place to declare who has won the election, that's the place of the American people.

"Keep the faith guys, and we're going to win this. Thank you, thank you, thank you."

A lot of campaign spin there - none of us really know what's going to happen in Georgia, Wisconsin, Michigan or Pennsylvania. But we'll see what happens.

 

Trump declared the winner in Iowa

This is not unexpected, particularly given Donald Trump's broader performance tonight, but the Democrats did consider Iowa a potential pick-up.

Turns out the President has won it comfortably. He's up by more than 7 per cent and there isn't much left to count. The Associated Press has called it.

 

Election coming down to three states

So let's assume Georgia goes to Donald Trump, because he does still have a comfortable lead there.

That would mean the election comes down to three crucial states across America's Rust Belt - Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Mr Trump currently leads in all three of them. But all three have a large number of mail-in ballots still to count - ballots that will favour Mr Biden.

We have 61 per cent of the vote counted in Pennsylvania, and Mr Trump leads 57-42.

In Michigan, with 53 per cent counted, he's up 54-44.

And in Wisconsin, with 70 per cent done, it's 52-47.

These are the states to watch now, and we are unlikely to have a final result in any of them tonight.

 

Just quietly, Georgia is still up for grabs

Interestingly, The New York Times is now giving Joe Biden a 63 per cent chance of winning Georgia, even though he's still trailing in the state.

With 79 per cent of the vote counted, Donald Trump leads 53-45, which sounds comfortable. We are, however, waiting on a bunch of votes from the state's capital, Atlanta.

Georgia is worth 16 electoral votes, so if it did flip to the Democrats, it would change the calculus significantly.

 

Malcolm Turnbull's contribution to the night

I'm told former Australian prime minister was on the ABC's election coverage tonight, speaking about the Trump presidency.

"He pulled out of the TPP. Fortunately, I was able to keep that deal alive without America," Mr Turnbull said.

That is … the most Malcolm Turnbully quote I have ever read.

 

Heaps of votes still to count in Pennsylvania

If you're wondering why I keep bringing up all the mail-in ballots that haven't yet been counted in Pennsylvania, this is why.

 

Donald Trump wins Texas

Multiple networks our now predicting Donald Trump has won Texas and its whopping 38 electoral votes.

And thus, the classic Democratic Party pipe dream remains exactly that. Texas has gone Republican 11 times in a row.

 

'Insane': Philadelphia won't report mail ballot results tonight

News nobody wants to hear from Pennsylvania - according to NPR, Philadelphia City Commissioner Lisa Deeley has told reporters the city won't report the results of any more mail-in ballots until 9am tomorrow morning, local time.

I do believe that's around 1am AEDT.

Election officials in Philly have currently counted about 76,000 ballots out of an expected 400,000. NPR says they can process 10,000 per hour. Do the maths, and that means no final tally for a couple of days.

Philadelphia is overwhelmingly Democratic so if Joe Biden is to come back and win the state, he's going to need its votes to be counted in full.

Meanwhile, over in Michigan, the biggest city Detroit doesn't expect to have all its mail-in ballots counted until tomorrow night, local time.

This election is … almost certainly not going to be decided tonight.

 

 

And suddenly, Virginia much less close

And moments after that last post, Virginia shifted a lot more dramatically towards Joe Biden.

A huge chunk of votes came in from the state's most populous county, Fairfax, where Mr Biden is running at 77 per cent of the vote.

So, with a quarter of Virginia's vote to come, now leads 53-46. That's a big turnaround, and it should ease the Democrats' nerves.

 

Virginia gradually shifts towards Biden

Virginia has tightened in recent minutes. Donald Trump now leads 50.2-48.1, with another third of the vote still to come.

The Democrats are still nervous about this one but it does seem to be shifting decisively to Joe Biden. It's just going to take some time to count all the absentee ballots.

 

One network calls Arizona for Biden

Fox News has declared Joe Biden the winner in Arizona.

I'm unsure about this one. We haven't had any new results from the state for at least an hour now, and a quarter of the vote is still to come.

The Trump campaign is convinced it still has a shot there, with Mr Biden currently leading 54-45.

 

Trump declared the winner in Ohio

This is a big deal. Decision Desk is projecting a win for Donald Trump in Ohio, where Joe Biden led for a fair while earlier in the night.

This was a must-win for the President. But so far, he hasn't lost a single must-win state. Hence the position we're currently in, with the entire election on a knife-edge.

 

Slow count hampers results in three key states

There has been a little lull in new results in these past few minutes. So let's look at the three key Rust Belt states - Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. How are they looking?

The first thing to note is that they're counting their votes very, very slowly, and might not be done for days.

Not what any of us want to hear, I know. But it's a function of the deluge of mail-in votes in each state, and the fact that none of them were allowed to get any real headstart on counting them.

Forty-five per cent of the vote has been counted in Pennsylvania, and Donald Trump leads 56-43. But we're missing a majority of the votes from Montgomery, Delaware, Philadelphia and Allegheny County - representing the cities of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh - which will go for Joe Biden by big margins.

In Michigan, 44 per cent of the vote is done. Mr Trump leads 55-44. Again we're, waiting on most of the results from the biggest city, Detroit.

And in Wisconsin, things are a bit closer. Mr Trump leads 51-47 with 55 per cent of the vote counted.

All three states should tighten as the mail vote, which favours the Democrats, gradually gets counted.

Remember what happened earlier in the night in Ohio, Florida and North Carolina. In those states, we saw a "blue mirage" with the mail votes being counted first and then Mr Trump closing the gap.

It's the opposite scenario here. These states will be counting the mail vote last, so we've seen the President go out to an early lead, and the question is whether Joe Biden can make the comeback.

 

EARLIER | The situation in Iowa right now

 

I haven't mentioned Iowa yet. Joe Biden is leading 55-43 with 44 per cent of the vote reported there, but this is another of those states where the mail vote got counted first.

So, expect the President to catch up in Iowa.

The states of Washington, Idaho and California have all been called for Mr Biden just now, though all of them were expected to go that way.

 

Donald Trump wins Missouri

The President has won my old home state Missouri, which used to be considered a bit of a swingyish state, but is now pretty firmly Republican.

As things stand, it looks like things are coming down to the Rust Belt - Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Does that sound familiar? It should. It was the case four years ago as well.

All three of those states have been counting their election day vote before the early vote, so it's hard to get a proper read on them yet.

 

Joe Biden wins New Hampshire

CNN has projected that Joe Biden will win New Hampshire. It's technically a swing state, but he led by double digits in the polls, so it's not remotely surprising.

 

Georgia looking good for Trump

You will recall that, at the start of the night, Democrats hoped they could make a play for Georgia, which hadn't voted for them since 1992.

The vote count is slow here, and we still have 45 per cent to come. But Donald Trump has a comfortable lead of 55-43 at the moment.

We're still waiting on a big chunk of votes from the state's biggest city, Atlanta, so it's not over, but The New York Times reckons the President is an 80 per cent favourite.

 

Trump gradually builds lead in Texas

As we suspected, Texas is gradually moving towards a more comfortable hold for the President.

With about a fifth of the vote to come, Mr Trump leads 50.8-47.8, a margin of about 300,000 ballots.

 

Dems 'starting to get nervous' in Virginia

Donald Trump has, at last, inched in front in North Carolina. He leads 49.6-49.2 with 88 per cent of votes reporting.

Tight, but this feels like a hold for the President, with most of the remaining vote having come on election day.

Meanwhile, as CNN's John King has just noted, Democrats are "starting to get a little nervous" in Virginia, where Mr Trump still leads 53-45.

We're still waiting on the bulk of the vote from the state's most populous area, Fairfax County.

 

Biden leading key state Arizona

Arizona is reporting its results very, very quickly. We are already at 70 per cent of the final expected total.

So how's it going? Joe Biden is currently winning the state 55-44.

This feels like another close one. We have another quarter of the vote to come from heavily Democratic Phoenix, which is one of America's biggest cities. So there's still a chunk of Biden-friendly territory to come.

 

What's the deal with Michigan and Virginia?

Donald Trump is currently leading in Michigan and Virginia, both of which were leaning heavily towards Joe Biden in the polls.

As things stand in Virginia, 45 per cent of the vote is counted and Mr Trump is up 56-42.

And yet, several networks have already called Virginia for Mr Biden. Why? Part of the answer, as I mentioned earlier, is heavily Democratic Fairfax County, which is still reporting less than a third of its total count.

The other factor? According to CNN, 28 per cent of the current vote in Virginia is early voters. That is expected to rise to 66 per cent by the end of the night, and the early vote favours the Democrats big time.

In Michigan, Mr Trump leads 59-39 with a fifth of the vote counted.

We're waiting on a huge number of votes from urban Detroit. And again, the current proportion of early voters is relatively small at 11 per cent. It's expected to rise to 55 per cent.

We might have to be patient in these two states.

 

Wildly conflicting predictions in North Carolina

North Carolina is an interesting one.

Fox News is giving Joe Biden a 93 per cent chance of winning the state. The New York Times is giving Donald Trump a 92 per cent chance.

They can't both be right!

With a fifth of the vote left, Mr Biden currently leads 50.3-48.5.

 

A couple more races called for Biden

Joe Biden has won Washington D.C. and Colorado, which used to be considered a swing state. No longer.

 

Trump improving significantly with Hispanic voters

It looks like Donald Trump's relative strength with Hispanic voters, compared to 2016, is not necessarily limited to Cuban-Americans in southern Florida.

This is a good sign for the President as we look to Arizona and the remaining vote in Texas.

 

Democrats on track to keep the House

Fox News projects that the Democrats will retain control of the House of Representatives.

That means Nancy Pelosi remains Speaker of the House. If he wins re-election, Donald Trump won't appreciate that.

 

Some more states have been called

Joe Biden has won New Mexico.

Donald Trump has won Wyoming, Louisiana, Nebraska and the two Dakotas.

 

Why is Trump leading in Virginia?

You might be wondering why Donald Trump is leading comfortably in Virginia with more than a third of the vote counted there. Hillary Clinton won the state easily in 2016.

The answer is Fairfax County. It's the most populous area of the state, encompassing the outer suburbs of Washington D.C., and less than a fifth of its votes have been counted so far.

 

Joe Biden wins another state

Joe Biden has won New York. Not a big deal. But the polls have just started to close in another batch of states, including Arizona, so we'll be keeping an eye on that.

We're now a tick over halfway through the vote in Ohio, and Joe Biden leads 54-45. Again, expect that to tighten. But given how much Donald Trump won the state by last time, this bodes well for Mr Biden in the Rust Belt states.

We're still stuck at 14 per cent reporting in Pennsylvania, but for what it's worth, Mr Biden leads 67-32.

With three-quarters of the vote counted in North Carolina, Mr Biden leads narrowly, with a margin of 51-48. That's going to be close.

And with two-thirds counted in Texas, Mr Biden leads 49.6-48.9. The fact that I'm going to a decimal point there suggests Mr Trump is still the favourite.

 

Donald Trump wins Arkansas

This was so unsurprising to me that I barely remembered to post about it. But hey, every electoral vote counts.

 

The situation in other swing states

Let's look at a few more swing states.

Sixty per cent of the vote has been counted in North Carolina, and Joe Biden is leading 54-45. He's outperforming Hillary Clinton in most counties at the moment.

Donald Trump won this state by about 3.5 per cent in 2016. It looks like it's going to be veeeeery close this time.

We have 40 per cent of the vote in Ohio, and Mr Biden is up 55-44. Expect this to tighten further as the election day vote comes in.

Very early days in Pennsylvania, with just 4 per cent of the vote counted. At the moment, Mr Biden leads by more than 200,000 votes, with a margin of 84-15.

Interesting stuff.

 

Decision Desk calls Florida for Trump

Decision Desk has called Florida for Donald Trump. It's not one of the major networks, but it is very reputable, and it confirms what pretty much everyone was already suspecting.

 

Interesting subtext in Florida results

At the risk of sounding like a total nerd here (as if the Rocket League reference earlier wasn't enough), the details of the Florida results are really friggin' interesting.

Donald Trump looks pretty certain to win the state, courtesy of a very strong performance in Miami-Dade County. The assumption there is that he's done well with Cuban-Americans.

Across the rest of the state, however, Joe Biden is actually outperforming Hillary Clinton's margins from 2016.

So, while Mr Trump is looking good in this state, the broader trends look fairly positive for Mr Biden. You won't find many Cuban-Americans in other parts of the country, and you will find demographics more similar to the other parts of Florida.

Goodness me, it's fascinating. Are you excited? You should be excited.

 

A bunch of states called

The polls just closed in a raft of states, and Joe Biden has immediately been named the winner in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, Illinois, Washington D.C., New Jersey, Rhode Island and Maryland.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump has won Oklahoma, Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi.

Literally none of these results are surprising.

I'd suggest we are counting down to Florida being called for Mr Trump, but I'm not going to go off half-cocked here.

 

Republican Senate Leader re-elected

Mitch McConnell, who is currently Senate Majority Leader but might be consigned to minority leader, depending on tonight's results, has won re-election in Kentucky.

 

A message from the White House press secretary

This is exactly what I say when it's 1-1 in Rocket League with 30 seconds left.

 

Democrats urged to 'stay in line'

Do you reckon the Biden campaign might be worried? This is the message from vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris right now.

 

 Biden declared the winner in Virginia

Virginia is one of those states that was considered competitive a couple of elections ago. No longer. It leans firmly towards the Democrats now, and Joe Biden has already won it.

Trump given 94 per cent chance in Florida

Why do I keep harping on about Joe Biden's underperformance, relative to Hillary Clinton, in Florida's Miami-Dade County.

This prediction from the New York Times gives you the answer. It's now giving Donald Trump a 94 per cent chance of winning the state.

 

Trump wins West Virginia

No surprise here, but Donald Trump has been declared the winner in deep-red West Virginia.

Florida has flipped back and forth between the two candidates every five minutes or so, with batches of votes coming in fast.

As I write this, Joe Biden is up 50.4-48.7 there, but he is still underperforming Hillary Clinton in a couple of key Democrat-leaning counties.

 

Joe Biden wins his first state

Vermont is worth three electoral votes and has repeatedly elected Bernie Sanders to the Senate.

That should give you an idea of how un-momentous it is for Joe Biden to be declared the winner there. But it has happened.

Trump wins Kentucky as well

The Associated Press has now called Kentucky, another deep-red state, for the President.

Meanwhile Democratic Senator Mark Warner has immediately been projected the winner in Virginia. Again, no surprise there.

 

First state called for Donald Trump

We're in a bit of a holding pattern now as we wait for the first polls to close in some more significant states, such as Georgia and Florida. Stand by for that.

CNN has called Indiana for Trump, which is entirely expected. All the other states whose polls are closing are too early to call, mainly because we have no data.

 

Trump entourage appears without face masks

One last note from Donald Trump's visit to Virginia - all the Republican campaign workers in the room were wearing face masks. Some of them, I must say, were actually quite stylish.

The President's entourage, meanwhile, did not wear masks. The group included Mr Trump himself, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany and the President's son-in-law Jared Kushner, among others.

I don't know why they chose to go maskless. But they did.


Trump visits campaign workers in Virginia

Donald Trump just visited a Republican National Committee office in Virginia, near Washington D.C. The staff gave him a standing ovation as he entered.

"Thank you very much," he told them.

"We just got back, we had some incredibly rallies and incredible times. I hear we're doing very well in Florida and very well in Arizona, Texas. The lines are amazing, and we're going to have a great night.

"Someday, some of the people in this room, some of them I predict will be president.

"We had rallies, there was love at those rallies. There's never been rallies like that. I say it in front of the media, they can fact check it if they want. But we've never had anything like it.

"You see these people, we travel with these people, they're extremely nice and I think they respect what we've done. They really do."

He was referring to the media there.

When his initial statement was out of the way, the President held an impromptu press conference.

A reporter asked him what he would say to Americans who were not voting for him today.

"Everybody should come together, and I think success brings us together. We're going to have a tremendous success," said Mr Trump.

"Success is going to bring unity. It was bringing it before, and then we got hit by the China virus.

"I think we've done an incredible job in regard to that, other than public relations. You people (the news media) were really not convincible, no matter what we did.

"Remember, we were expecting and people were predicting 2.2 million people. We saved more than two million lives, and did an incredible job with therapies and therapeutics and maybe cures.

"I say it, I say it properly, we are rounding the corner."

Mr Trump was referring to a study published by British academics back in March, which predicted what would happen if governments and citizens did nothing whatsoever to slow the virus's spread. It was not an expectation so much as a worst-case scenario.

The US is currently averaging 83,500 new cases of the virus each day, which is the highest that number has been during the pandemic.

Sorry, I know you're probably bored of me bringing up this stuff all the time, but if Mr Trump keeps saying these things, I have to keep fact-checking them.

Otherwise I'd just be spreading a politician's spin for him. And that ain't my job, whether said spin comes from Mr Trump, Joe Biden, Scott Morrison, Anthony Albanese, or anyone else.

Moving along, a reporter asked whether Mr Trump had already written an acceptance or concession speech (or both).

"I'm not thinking about concession speech or acceptance speech yet. Hopefully we'll only be doing one of those two things. You know, winning is easy. Losing is never easy. Not for me it's not," he said.

"There's a tremendous love going on in this country, and there's really a tremendous unity.

"Our opposition, as you know, would have a few people sitting in circles, and that's OK. That's normal.

"But we were having rallies with 50,000 people, 45,000 people, more. Nobody's ever seen that. So it was an honour."

The thing about the circles is true. The Biden campaign held small events - in its words, to comply with local health guidelines.

Mr Trump's rallies did indeed draw impressively large crowds, though no, none of them were anywhere near 50,000 people.

Finally, the President repeated his complaint about a recent Supreme Court decision regarding the counting of ballots in Pennsylvania, which is of course a crucial swing state.

Mr Trump wants a winner to be declared tonight. Due to the amount of time it takes to count mail-in ballots - particularly in a state like Pennsylvania, which does not allow officials to start counting them ahead of time - that might not be possible.

"I think you'll know possibly tonight, depending on the extent of victory. I think the ruling on Pennsylvania was an unfortunate one," Mr Trump said.

"You have to have numbers. You can't have these things delayed for many days, and maybe weeks.

"A lot of shenanigans, a lot of bad things happen with ballots. All of a sudden the ballot count changes.

"I think it's a very dangerous thing that they've done with that decision.

"You have to have a date. And the date happens to be November 3rd, and we should be entitled to know who won on November 3rd. And if someone comes along and puts a ballot in way late, they should put the ballot in earlier."

I should note that the vote count is never complete on election night. Indeed, some of the states Mr Trump won four years ago were not called on the night itself.

The President is not wrong when he says "you have to have a date". The actual date, however, is December 8. That is the deadline, under the law, for each state to certify its results.

The specific decision Mr Trump is agitated over came from the US Supreme Court a few days ago. It upheld a ruling from Pennsylvania's state Supreme Court, which means mail ballots that arrive up to three days after the election will be counted, as long as they are postmarked by election day.

Judge orders Postal Service to search for mail ballots

US District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan has issued an order for the Postal Service to sweep certain mail processing facilities to make sure no ballots have been "held up".

The order applies to mail facilities in a bunch of areas that will influence tonight's result, including Philadelphia, central Pennsylvania, Detroit, Atlanta, Houston, Arizona and South Florida.

The idea here is that delays in the mail should not stop votes from being counted. Some states won't accept ballots that arrive later than today, while others are a little more relaxed as long as the ballot is postmarked by election day.


Biden campaign says it has 'multiple pathways'

In a call with reporter, Biden campaign manager Jen O'Malley Dillon said the usual confident things you would expect from a campaign on the morning of an election day.

"We come into election day in our battleground states ahead by eight points. Obviously each state is different," she said.

"We continue to have multiple pathways to 270 electoral votes.

"Trump has such a harder hill to climb today to overcome the advantage we came in with.

"We believe that we're going to wend tonight having left every ounce on the field, because of the enthusiasm and the hard work of our volunteers all across the country."

Meanwhile, speaking to Fox News earlier, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany used literally the same tired metaphor.

"We left it all on the field," she said.

"Our campaign believes that tonight will be a landslide."

They can't both be right.


Biden promises to call dying cancer patient

A good bit of follow-up reporting from the campaign trail here, courtesy of Axios's Alexi McCammond.

McCammond noticed Joe Biden speaking to a man after his remarks in Scranton a couple of hours ago. She was unable to hear most of the conversation, so approached the man afterwards to ask him what it had been about.

Joe Gilbooley told her one of his family friends, a dying cancer patient, was a big fan of Mr Biden and he had asked the former vice president to call her.

It sounds like that call is going to happen.

Sneaky attempt to confuse voters

Michigan's governor, attorney-general and secretary of state are all warning voters of a robocall that's going around.

The calls seem to be designed to confuse voters in Flint, Michigan, and convince them to stay home and miss out on voting.

Flint's residents are disproportionately African-American and lean Democratic.


Melania votes, doesn't wear a mask

First Lady Melania Trump has cast her ballot at the Morton and Barbara Mandel Recreation Centre in West Palm Beach, Florida.

"It's Election Day, so I wanted to come here to vote today for the election," Mrs Trump told reporters.

According to the pool report, she was the only person at the polling place not wearing a mask.

'Shenanigans are already starting'

As you know, there has been a ton of rhetoric suggesting nefarious things will happen in the vote count tonight.

The Trump campaign has been calling for its supporters to enlist as poll watchers - to go along and make sure nothing suss happens.

The campaign's communications director, Tim Murtaugh, is already highlighting a complaint that the poll watchers are being kept at too much of a distance in Pennsylvania.


 

Originally published as 'Losing is never easy': Trump opens up


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