…Trump, Biden await results in battleground states
…Two Nigerians, Agbaje, Oye win Minnesota, District of Columbia
By Henry Ojelu with agency report
THE excruciatingly close U.S. presidential election hung in the balance yesterday with Democrat Joe Biden leading in two critical Midwestern states that could tip the contest in his favor even as President Donald Trump falsely claimed victory and made unsubstantiated allegations of electoral fraud.
Biden extended his narrow lead in Michigan while maintaining a slight edge in Wisconsin on Wednesday, according to Edison Research. The Republican president won the two pivotal battleground states in 2016. Michigan officials continued to count mail-in ballots that surged amid the coronavirus pandemic. Wisconsin officials said they concluded their counting, but a winner had yet to be declared.
Together with Nevada, another state where Biden held a small advantage with votes still left to be tallied; those states would deliver Biden the 270 votes needed in the state-by-state Electoral College to win the White House. But Trump still had a path to victory with those states officially undecided.
In dueling conference calls with reporters, officials from each campaign insisted their candidate would prevail.
“If we count all legal ballots, we win,” Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien said, potentially setting the stage for post-election litigation over the counting of mail-in ballots.
Biden campaign manager Jennifer O’Malley Dillon told reporters the former vice president was on track to win the election, while senior legal adviser Bob Bauer said there were no grounds for Trump to invalidate lawfully cast ballots.
As at the time of going to press, Biden leads 238 to 214 over Trump in the Electoral College vote count, according to Edison Research, aiming to reach the needed 270 electoral votes, which are based in part on a state’s population.
Here is the state of play in seven battleground state as of 1:45 p.m. Eastern time on Wednesday.
ARIZONA: Electoral votes: 11
Biden leads Trump, 51.0 percent to 47.6 percent, with 86 percent of the estimated vote in. Counties with critical votes still to be counted include Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix and where Biden is ahead. Officials have said they expect to finish counting ballots today.
GEORGIA: Electoral votes: 16
Trump leads Biden, 50.3 percent to 48.5 percent, with 93 percent of the estimated vote in. Most of the votes yet to be counted are in DeKalb County and other counties in the suburbs of Atlanta that have been breaking heavily for Biden. Mr. Biden would need almost two-thirds of the remaining vote to carry the state. The Georgia secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, said in a television interview that he expected the count to be done by the end of the day.
MICHIGAN: Electoral votes: 16
Biden leads Trump, 49.6 percent to 48.7 percent, with 94 percent of the estimated vote in. Nearly a quarter of the vote in Wayne County, a Democratic stronghold that includes Detroit, has yet to be counted, and Biden was closing the gap in Kent County, which includes Grand Rapids, with more than 15 percent of votes outstanding. The secretary of state said last night that she expected to have “a very clear picture, if not a final picture” of the results by tonight.
NEVADA: Electoral votes: 6
Biden leads Trump, 49.3 percent to 48.7 percent, with 86 percent of the estimated vote in. All of the Election Day vote has been counted, and now only Democratic-leaning late mail and provisional ballots remain. The secretary of state says the next update will come at around 12 p.m. Eastern time on Thursday.
NORTH CAROLINA: Electoral votes: 15
Trump leads Biden, 50.1 percent to 48.7 percent, with 95 percent of the estimated vote in. With most votes now tabulated, Biden would need to win about two-thirds of the remainder to pull ahead.
PENNSYLVANIA: Electoral votes: 20
Trump leads Biden, 53.4 percent to 45.3 percent, with 80 percent of the estimated vote in. An analysis by The Times’s Upshot finds that the remaining vote appears to be overwhelmingly for Biden. Only 19 of 67 counties have their reported absentee votes. The populous counties where the largest portion of the votes have yet to be counted include Philadelphia, where Biden leads by 56 percentage points, and Allegheny, which Biden leads by nine percentage points and which includes Pittsburgh. Biden needs to win more than two-thirds of the remaining votes to win the state.
WISCONSIN: Electoral votes:10
Biden leads Trump, 49.4 percent to 48.8 percent, with more than 98 percent of the estimated vote in. Wisconsin election officials said they had finished counting all but a few votes and that Biden led by more than 20,000 votes.
Democrats falling short Senate race
A Democratic drive to win control of the U.S. Senate appeared to fall short, with Democrats picking up only one Republican-held seat while six other races remained undecided early on Wednesday.
Democrats defeated Republican Senators Cory Gardner of Colorado and Martha McSally of Arizona but lost the Alabama seat held by Democratic Senator Doug Jones.
To win the majority in the Senate, Democrats would need to pick up three Republican seats if Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is elected president and Senator Kamala Harris wields the tie-breaking vote as vice president.
But the Democratic path to victory narrowed sharply as results poured in and the final outcome may not be known for days, and in some cases, months.
Four Republican incumbents – Joni Ernst of Iowa, Steve Daines of Montana, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and John Cornyn of Texas – fended off Democratic challenges, according to networks and Edison Research.
Republicans also held onto an open seat in Kansas, where Republican Roger Marshall was declared the winner over Democrat Barbara Bollier.
Two Nigerians, Agbaje, Oye win Minnesota, District of Columbia
Two Nigerian-Americans have reportedly won their respective positions in the ongoing United States general elections. No fewer than nine Nigerian-Americans vied for different positions in the election. Two has been declared winner.
At the federal level, Oye Owolewa, whose father is from Kwara and mother from Oyo, is aiming for a ‘shadow’ (non-voting) seat in the House of Representatives. The 31-year-old politician Wednesday won the election.
Based on the results, Oye had 82.65% of the votes, which represents 135,234 votes against Joyce Robinson-Paul, who had 15,541 votes, and Sohaer Syed with 12,846 votes.
Similarly, Esther Agbaje, has been elected into the Minnesota House of Representatives. She pulled a total of 17,396 votes, which represents 74.7% of the total ballots cast, defeating her closets opponent Alan Shilepsky. Shilepsky garnered 4,126 votes, which represents 17.7% of the total votes cast.
However, Agbaje will represent District 59B in the 134-member House on the platform of the Democratic-Farmer-Labour Party, an affiliate of the Democratic Party.
Kanye West accepts defeat
Kanye admitted defeat in a tweet and also hinted at a possible second attempt at the presidential election in 2024. He obtained more than a thousand votes in all of the 12 contests he was in, according to preliminary tallies by news media outlets.
Kanye get nearly 6,000 votes in Colorado, a state that went to Biden who took 55.8 percent of the total tallied votes. In Vermont, another state that went to Biden, West got more than 1,200 votes, according to the tally.
However, he proved most popular in Tennessee, where 10,195 voters came out to cast their votes in support of him. Unfortunately, Kanye didn’t exceed more than 0.4% of any state’s vote. The rapper had announced earlier Tuesday via his Twitter handle that he voted for himself, the first time he had cast a ballot in a US presidential election.
Sarah McBride makes history as first trans state senator
Sarah McBride is to become the first transgender state senator in the US, making her the highest-ranking trans official in the country.
McBride, 30, who worked as a trainee in the White House during the Obama administration, declared victory in Delaware, beating Republican Steve Washington.
She tweeted: “I hope tonight shows an LGBTQ kid that our democracy is big enough for them, too.”
Separately, Taylor Small, 26, is expected to become Vermont’s first transgender state legislator, after projections showed her winning the race to make it to the House of Representatives.
Several other records have been broken.
In New York, Ritchie Torres, 32, is projected to be the first black gay member of Congress. He is expected to be joined by fellow New York candidate Mondaire Jones, who is also gay.
Last night when former Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton posted a photo of her leaving a polling booth near her New York home, Jones replied to ask who she had voted for. “You, of course,” came the reply from the former first lady.
Postmaster must answer questions on ballot delay — Judge
A U.S. judge on Wednesday said Postmaster General Louis DeJoy must answer questions about why the U.S. Postal Service failed to complete a court-ordered sweep for undelivered ballots in about a dozen states before a Tuesday afternoon deadline.
U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan said at a hearing Wednesday that DeJoy “is either going to have to be deposed or appear before me and testify under oath about why some measures were not taken.”
The Postal Service, or USPS, disclosed on Wednesday it had completed the sweeps late on Tuesday and turned up just 13 ballots in Pennsylvania. Sullivan had ordered the sweeps in response to lawsuits by groups including Vote Forward, the NAACP, and Latino community advocates.
The USPS told Sullivan it could not meet his 3 p.m. EST (2000 GMT) Tuesday deadline for completing the checks, saying it was not logistically possible.