US 2020 Election Update – Thursday, November 5, 2020

In today’s report, we are inching closer to a potential result in the presidential race. We also cover the latest on the Senate and House races, the makeup of state legislatures, and an update on the corporate reaction to the election.

Key Takeaways

  • Biden is currently sitting at 253 electoral votes, close to hitting 270 to win the presidency. According to election analysts, President Trump will need to overperform in Democratic areas such as Atlanta, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Las Vegas to win. However, Democrats have dominated the mail-in ballots across the country.
  • Five battleground states – Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania – remain uncalled as state officials rush to collect and count the remaining mail-in, absentee, and provisional ballots. Currently, Arizona and Nevada are holding slight leads for Biden. President Trump is currently leading in Georgia, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.
  • The Trump Campaign has launched legal contests in the following key battleground states: Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, and Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, the Biden campaign launched the Biden Fight Fund for election litigation efforts.
  • The race to successfully capture a Senate majority remains deadlocked as key battlegrounds finish counting the remaining ballots. Democrats have flipped two Seats in Arizona and Colorado, while Republicans were able to flip Alabama, leaving the Democrats with a +1 net gain at this time.
  • Control of the Senate will likely come down to two special elections in Georgia. In Georgia, if no candidate receives 50% of the vote in campaigns for statewide office, the race goes to a runoff. Democrats will need to win both seats to attain 50 Senate seats, allowing a Vice President Harris to cast the tie-breaking vote to give Democrats control of the upper chamber.
  • In the House, Democrats hopes of holding a significant majority have been tempered by Republican strength in suburban and rural districts. Republicans have flipped a total of 8 seats, netting out at +6 as of today.
  • Republicans retain control of state legislatures across the country, securing influence in the redistricting process in 2021. Despite major fundraising and get-out-the-vote efforts, Democrats were unable to gain key state legislature seats.
  • Almost all corporate reactions to the election results have focused on messages of patience and unity.

Latest Election Developments

Presidential Race

Source: FiveThirtyEight, Last Updated 5:42 PM EST 

PATHWAYS TO THE WHITE HOUSE:

  • For Biden to secure the White House, he needs to maintain his current leads in Arizona and Nevada or simply win Pennsylvania. A Biden victory in Arizona, along with a win in Nevada, would put him precisely at 270 electoral votes – without Pennsylvania.
  • For President Trump to win, he must hold his leads in Georgia and Pennsylvania, flip Nevada, and erase Biden’s lead in Arizona. Arizona has already been declared a Biden victory by several news organizations, even though hundreds of thousands of votes remain to be counted, per The New York Times.

LATEST FROM THE BATTLEGROUND STATES:

  • Arizona (11 electoral votes)Arizona is currently reporting that 86% of the votes have been completed, with an additional group of mail-in and absentee votes released at 9 PM EST. Biden currently holds a slight lead with 50.5% of the vote, compared to President Trump’s 48.1% share. Both parties are watching for potential shifts in voting margins from Maricopa and Pima County, which contain Phoenix, Tucson, and their respective suburban communities.
  • North Carolina (15 electoral votes) – North Carolina is currently reporting that 95% of the votes have been completed, with remaining mail-in and absentee ballots counted over the next two weeks. President Trump holds a slight lead with exactly 50% of the vote, compared to Biden’s 48.6% share. The result in North Carolina won’t be official until after November 12th, which is the deadline to process and count delivered ballots that were postmarked by Election Day.
  • Georgia (16 electoral votes) – Georgia is currently reporting that 98% of the vote has been completed, with state officials aiming to tally the remaining votes by the end of the day, despite an unknown number of overseas, military, and provisional ballots yet to be processed. President Trump holds a very slim lead with 49.5% of the vote compared to Biden’s 49.3% of the vote, a margin of approximately 9,500 votes. The Biden campaign is hoping that the remaining votes, which include the Atlanta metropolitan area, can help flip the state, while Georgia Republicans are hoping to stave off another Democratic pickup.
  • Pennsylvania (20 electoral votes) – Pennsylvania is currently reporting that 92% of the vote has been completed, with state officials predicting the majority of remaining votes will be counted by November 6. President Trump holds a slight lead with 50.3% of the vote, compared to Biden’s 48.5%. The Biden campaign is hoping that groups of suburban and minority voters left to be counted in key cities, including Philadelphia, will help boost his numbers.
  • Nevada (6 electoral votes) – Nevada is currently reporting that 89% of the vote has been completed. Biden currently holds a slim lead at 49.4% of the vote, compared to President Trump’s 48.5%. This afternoon, Nevada’s Secretary of State said there are approximately 190,150 ballots left to count, 90% of which are from heavily Democratic Clark County in the Las Vegas area.

CAMPAIGN COMMUNICATIONS:

  • The Trump Campaign has filed lawsuits in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia, and Nevada to contest the integrity of the voting counting process.
    • In Pennsylvania, the campaign filed a suit to halt the voting process until campaign observers have access to ballot-processing locations. The campaign is also seeking the Supreme Court’s permission to intervene in an appeal contesting whether Pennsylvania ballots received 3 days after the election are eligible.
    • In Michigan, a judge denied a lawsuit to halt the counting of votes in the state until campaign observers could secure “meaningful access” to the ballot counting process. The judge dismissed the suit on account that all votes have been counted.
    • A judge in Georgia also dismissed a lawsuit against the Chatham County Board of Elections. The campaign claimed that the county has mixed ineligible, late absentee ballots with valid ballots. The judge ruled there was insufficient evidence.
    • In Nevada, the campaign has announced plans to file a lawsuit to halt the processing of what it claims are “improper votes” from non-residents.
  • The Biden Campaign has launched the Biden Fight Fund to counter any litigation on vote counting. Biden’s campaign manager, Jen O’Malley Dillon, emailed supporters on Wednesday evening, asking for $25 donations.
  • On Thursday afternoon, Biden addressed reporters in Wilmington, Delaware. Short of declaring victory, the former Vice President expressed confidence that “when the count is finished, Sen. Harris and I will be declared the winners.”
  • The Biden campaign launched a presidential transition website in anticipation of securing the presidency. The website, buildbackbetter.com, is a single page that acknowledges that votes are still being counted and states, but affirms, “the transition team will continue preparing at full speed so that the Biden-Harris Administration can hit the ground running on Day One.”

Congressional Races

SENATE

  • Incumbent David Perdue (R) has been flirting with a potential election runoff for Georgia’s seat heading into Thursday afternoon. For the first time in this election, Perdue’s vote dropped below 50%, the threshold to avoid a runoff. Democrat challenger Jon Ossoff currently holds 47.7% of the state vote, and has been consistently closing the gap as state officials count the remaining mail-in, absentee, and provisional ballots.
  • Georgia is slated to hold runoff elections for its two Senate seats in January. The race between Raphael Warnock (D) and Kelly Loeffler (R) will advance. NBC News reported on Thursday afternoon that Sen. David Perdue (R) and Jon Ossoff (D) will also compete in a runoff. The runoff election between the top-two finishers for both seats will be held on January, 5, 2021. Control of the Senate will likely depend on the outcome of these two races.
  • North Carolina Senate incumbent Thom Tillis (R) is holding a slight lead over Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham as the state approaches 95% of the reported vote. Tillis, looking for his second term, faces a strong challenge from Cunningham, a former state senator, in a crucial battleground state for Democratic leadership as they look to possibly retake the Senate.
  • In Alaska, incumbent Dan Sullivan (R) holds a significant lead (62.9%) over Democratic challenger Al Gross (31.8%), with 56% of estimated votes reported. State officials have noted that no mail-in or other absentee ballots will be counted in the state until about a week after the election, but Alaska has traditionally been a strong Republican foothold in Congress will little possibility for turnover.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

  • Cori Bush (D) became Missouri’s first Black Congresswoman, beating Republican Anthony Rogers to represent the state’s first district, which includes St. Louis and Ferguson. Bush, a former nurse and activist, has campaigned on representing essential workers as well as Black women, girls, and single months in her state.
  • New York’s Third District remains in deadlock as Republican challenger George Santos holds a slight lead (50.5%) over Democrat incumbent Thomas Suozzi (49.0%). With 72% of the estimated vote reported and the state allowing mail-in ballots until November 10th to arrive, the result of this contested seat could take weeks to reach. New York’s Third District, which contains a section of Long Island, was won by Biden during the presidential election.
  • Democrats are also looking at other potential flips in New York, where Claudia Tenney is challenging incumbent Democrat Anthony J. Brindisi for the state 22nd district. With close to 100% of the vote reported, Tenney holds a 30,000 vote leads over Brindisi in the upstate district that has traditionally leaned red.
  • Democratic incumbent Max Rose is struggling to fend off a challenge from Republican Nicole Malliotakis in N.Y.’s 11th District, home to Staten Island. Around 95% of the precincts have reported in, making a comeback unlikely for Rose.
  • In California, Democratic challenger Chrissy Smith is looking to maintain her slight lead in the state’s 25th district over incumbent Republican Mike Garcia. The district, home to parts of Los Angeles, has traditionally voted Republican as far back as the early 2000’s, with the exception of 2018. Smith, a former assemblywoman, is hoping to overcome a loss to Garcia during the May 12 special election.
  • Iowa State Representative Ashely Hinson successfully flipped the Iowa 1st district in northeast Iowa, beating incumbent Democrat Abby Finkenauer. Hinson, a former television anchor, has garnered 51% of the vote with 91% of the estimated total reported.
  • South Carolina State Representative Nancy Mace won South Carolina’s 1st district in the Charleston area, defeating incumbent Democrat Joe Cunningham. Mace, who had previously worked on President Trump’s 2016 campaign, had received endorsements from the President, the Second Lady, and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.

STATE LEGISLATURE RACES

  • Republicans retain majorities in a number of state legislatures. The Democrats were unable to flip any statehouse chambers and underperformed in state legislative races in Iowa, North Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Texas, despite hefty fundraising numbers and get-out-the-vote efforts.
  • GOP gains more influence in redistricting processes expected to begin in early 2021. Without majorities in state legislatures, Democrats will be unable to redraw district maps in their favor for the next 10 years. State and national electoral maps are drawn by state legislatures after the decennial census takes place (the latest took place this year).
  • Democrats face their biggest disappointment in Texas. They were unable to win a majority in the Texas House and will be largely shut out of the drawing of up to 39 congressional districts, throwing off Democratic hopes of leveraging the growing diversity in suburbs in future elections.
  • Republicans are expected to have control over the mapmaking process for 181 House congressional districts. Democrats will control the mapmaking for approximately 76 House districts, according to the National Democratic Redistricting Committee.

Corporate Reaction

  • Corporations largely stayed quiet today as the results came in, but here’s a quick roundup of trade association and labor group reactions:
  • The leaders of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO, the largest U.S. labor federation, said in a joint statement that violence, intimidation, and other tactics would weaken the country.
  • The CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers called for unity in a deeply divided nation in a Wednesday statement.
  • Rufus Yerxa, a former U.S. government official who heads the U.S. National Foreign Trade Council, said concerns about the counting of ballots had raised concerns among colleagues in other democracies when President Trump’s trade policies had already put many allies on edge.

With contributions from Prashanth RajanMatt Ogren, Carolina Portela-Blanco, Jackson Cherner and Anna Weckmuller.

2020 Election