President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign insisted on Friday that the presidential election is "not over," working to stave off defeat with baseless claims of voter fraud even as Democratic nominee Joe Biden pulled ahead in two states that would hand him the White House.
Entering Friday morning, the former vice president needed to win only one more state of the five that have yet to be called. At about 9 a.m., Biden took the lead over Trump in Pennsylvania, pulling ahead there hours after he similarly grabbed a narrow advantage in Georgia. Biden also leads in Nevada, where he has remained ahead since Election Day.
"This election is not over. The false projection of Joe Biden as the winner is based on results in four states that are far from final,” Trump 2020 general counsel Matt Morgan asserted in a statement.
While Morgan is correct that the counts in each state are not yet final, the outstanding absentee ballots in each to-be-called state come largely from Democratic-leaning or heavily Democratic areas and have generally tilted toward Biden regardless of where they were cast.
But Morgan, like Trump and other allies, contended that fraud or other irregularities — for which there is no evidence — were to blame for the president’s sliding numbers as legal absentee ballots continue to be tallied.
Morgan argued that in Georgia, where Biden currently leads by a little over 1,000 votes, the race “is headed for a recount,” claiming the campaign is “confident we will find ballots improperly harvested” and that “President Trump will ultimately prevail” there. He offered no proof or evidence to back his claim.
In a news conference at the state capitol Thursday, Georgia voting system implementation manager Gabriel Sterling preemptively noted the state had not seen any evidence of widespread fraud or irregularities while counting votes.
"We’re investigating any credible accusation with any real evidence behind it," he said. "But let me tell you one thing. When you have a narrow margin, little small things can make a difference. So everything will be investigated to protect the integrity of the vote."
Morgan went on to claim that in Pennsylvania, where Biden now leads by around 6,800 votes, “there were many irregularities” and alluded to the campaign’s few successful legal challenges to allow their poll watchers closer access to ballot counting in Philadelphia and a deal likely to let more volunteers from the campaign observe the process.
But Morgan contended that in spite of those minor victories, the campaign was “deprived of valuable time and denied the transparency we are entitled to under state law,” though there has thus far been no evidence of fraud in the state.
In Nevada, where the Trump campaign filed a lawsuit on Thursday, “there appear to be thousands of individuals who improperly cast mail ballots,” Morgan alleged, though he did not provide evidence of that claim and Trump supporters refused to answer questions from reporters at a news conference Thursday announcing the suit.
Nevada’s attorney general dismissed the suit as a "Hail Mary attempt at undermining the vote,” according to The Nevada Independent, and the Registrar of Voters of Clark County, the Las Vegas county home to most of the state’s outstanding absentee ballots, said in a news conference Thursday that he was not aware of any ballots improperly cast.
In Arizona, where Biden currently leads by around 47,000 votes, Morgan claimed that Trump “is on course” to win the state “outright” and blasted Fox News and the Associated Press, which are the only major news outlets to have called Arizona for Biden.
A single win in either Georgia, Nevada or Pennsylvania would hand Biden the presidency. And while the former vice president has not claimed victory, as Trump falsely has, Biden has said over the past few days that he is confident in his standing once the tallies are finalized.
Still, Morgan accused Biden of laying a “phony claim on the White House,” vowing that “once the election is final, President Trump will be re-elected."
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