Elections officials in several key states hurried to finish counting all outstanding votes as Americans could finally learn who won Tuesday's presidential election.
Joe Biden maintained his Electoral College lead over President Donald Trump, overtaking the president in Georgia and Pennsylvania. Trump, meanwhile, vowed to "pursue this process through every aspect of the law" Friday after offering a series of false claims about election integrity in defiant remarks from the White House the day before, and is mounting a legal blitz across several battleground states.
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GOP Sen. Perdue's campaign is preparing for 'coming runoff' in Georgia
NBC News has yet to make a projection in their race, but Sen. David Perdue's campaign said Friday that it's preparing for a runoff election against Democrat Jon Ossoff in Georgia.
A runoff election between Perdue and Ossoff could be pivotal for control of the U.S. Senate, and would come Jan. 5 - the same day Georgia is holding another Senate runoff election between Democrat Raphael Warnock and Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler.
"The stakes in this election could not be higher: a vote for Ossoff is a vote to hand power to Chuck Schumer and the radical Democrats in Washington," Perdue campaign manager Ben Fry said in a statement. "Georgians won't let that happen."
"We are excited for overtime," Fry added, citing Perdue's "commanding lead."
With 98 percent of the vote in, Perdue is leading Ossoff by 2 percentage points, and is .2 percent under the 50 percent total vote threshold he needs to win the seat outright.
Ossoff told reporters in Atlanta earlier Friday that he too believed "this race is headed to a runoff," but maintained that "we have all the momentum, all the energy, and we’re on the right side of history." "Retirement is coming for Sen. David Perdue," Ossoff said.
Bossie to lead Trump's election challenges
President Trump’s campaign has tasked David Bossie, his deputy campaign manager in 2016 and the head of the conservative advocacy group Citizens United, to lead its efforts to challenge election results in several states, including Arizona and Pennsylvania, according to a person familiar with the decision.
Bossie has already been involved in coordinating the legal efforts and in communication with lawyers involved, a person familiar with the strategy said. But it is unclear if he will serve the same role that James Baker did for George W. Bush in 2000, coordinating the legal response and strategy.
The New York Times first reported Bossie would take the lead on election litigation.
Photo: Alex Jones joins protesters in Maricopa County
Pennsylvania GOP asks Supreme Court to stop count of mail-in ballots that arrived after Tuesday
Pennsylvania Republicans asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday to order election officials to stop counting mail-in ballots that arrived after Election Day.
"The vote in Pennsylvania may well determine the next president of the United States," the party said in its emergency application. The GOP said that although the state's top election official has directed all counties to separate out the ballots that arrive after Election Day but before 5 p.m. Friday, it is unclear whether all the counties are obeying that directive.
The Republicans said the state Supreme Court had no authority to extend the mail-in ballot deadline, and therefore any votes cast during the extended period should not be counted. They asked the U.S. Supreme Court to order all counties to keep the late ballots separate and not to count them. Otherwise, they said, it might not be possible to remove those ballots from the count if the party later prevails on its argument that the deadline extension was illegal.
The party asked for a ruling "as soon as possible." The court will likely seek a response from the state before acting.
Former Rep. Gabby Giffords celebrates husband Mark Kelly's Senate win
You think vote counting in Nevada and Pennsylvania is slow? Think again.
The counting of ballots in some of the key swing states that remain too close to call may seem to be moving at a snail's pace, but actually, there are several states where the ballot counting is slower.
All eyes are on the battleground states of Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina, Nevada and Pennsylvania and they are all still sifting through piles of mailed-in votes. All of these states have reported more than 90 percent of the votes that came in, but they're still counting.
Three states, however, have a significantly slower count underway. In California, which NBC News projects Biden won, the state has 77 percent of the vote tallied, with more than 3.6 million left to count. In Maryland, another state that Biden won, 70 percent of the vote has been counted with more than 949,000 ballots left to count.
Alaska, a solid red state and the nation's largest geographically, only has 56 percent of the vote in, with 194,000 ballots remaining that need to be counted. And no, Alaska doesn't use dog sled teams to deliver ballots.
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Pennsylvania appeals court orders some provisional ballots to be set aside for now
A state appeals court in Pennsylvania has ordered the secretary of state to notify all local election officials that they must set aside provisional ballots that were cast by voters as a way to fix problems with their mail-in ballots.
The court will later decide whether those votes can be counted. The issue is the practice of letting mail-in voters fix problems on their ballots or instead cast provisional ballots to solve the problems.
Republicans say state law doesn't allow that. Democrats say while state law doesn't explicitly provide for the practice, it doesn't prohibit it, either.
How Ritchie Torres, Congress' first gay Afro Latino, won on 'bread-and-butter issues'
Ritchie Torres learned he had been elected to Congress while watching the election returns at a friend’s house with a few core members of his campaign. The moment, he said, proved to be intensely gratifying.
“I was raised by a single mother who raised children on minimum wage,” Torres, a member of the New York City Council, said. “I lived in public housing and had to struggle with depression and substance abuse. I never thought life would take me on a journey from the Bronx to Washington, D.C.”
After winning a crowded primary this summer, Torres sailed to a resounding victory Tuesday over his Republican opponent in New York’s 15th Congressional District, a Democratic stronghold centered in the Bronx. Torres, 32, will become one of the first Black, openly gay men to serve in the House, along with Mondaire Jones, the winner Tuesday in New York’s 17th District, to the north of Torres’ district.
Torres said his entry into politics was heavily influenced by his experience growing up in a public housing development that had mold, mildew, leaks, lead and lacked consistent heat or hot water during the winter months.
Read more here.
Trump campaign defiant, but 'deflated' feeling creeping in
As the Trump campaign pushes forward with baseless claims of fraud in a race that’s increasingly slipping from its grasp, a campaign official says the team's desire to have a stronger, more experienced “face” of the legal fight started Wednesday, but so far has not materialized.
There's real frustration about how there’s no clear “field general” marshaling the legal and public relations battles, like what James Baker did for George W. Bush in 2000. As one ally said, “all the best names are Never-Trumpers.”
The defiant public posture from the Trump campaign also belies the “deflated” feeling among its staffers, and there’s apprehension about a dayslong wait for a concession that may never come.
Other than a single paper statement and some tweets from the president, there hasn’t been much from Trump's team today. Compare that to 24 hours ago, when there had already been one campaign call and several news conferences on the schedule. If we see the president today — a big if, since that discussion is still in process — it would not happen before 2 p.m. The president is working from the Oval Office this afternoon, the White House said.
Trump said in a statement released by the campaign, "We believe the American people deserve to have full transparency into all vote counting and election certification, and that this is no longer about any single election. This is about the integrity of our entire election process."
"From the beginning, we have said that all legal ballots must be counted and all illegal ballots should not be counted, yet we’ve met resistance for this basic principle by Democrats at every turn," the statement continued. "We will pursue this process through every aspect of the law to guarantee the American people have confidence in our government. I will never give up fighting for you and our nation.”
Nevada's Clark County still needs to count tens of thousands of ballots
Nevada's Clark County registrar, Joe Gloria, said Friday afternoon that the county is still going through 63,000 mail-in ballots, 30,000 of which were reported in the morning.
He told reporters at a press conference Friday that the county will be providing results twice a day, with the next batch of results expected sometime before 4 p.m. PT. More than 200 new mail-in ballots came in Friday's mail. He also said that voters have until 5 p.m. PT Friday to provide ID for their ballots, which applies to about 44,000 in the system.
Gloria said that he hopes the county will finish counting the majority of absentee ballots by Sunday.
The county will also begin counting 60,000 provisional ballots Friday, although Gloria said that they're waiting for instructions from the secretary of state's office on when to send their report up. There are also about 2,100 ballots whose signatures need to be cured.
Biden is currently leading Trump in Clark County, which covers the Las Vegas area, by more than 20,000 votes.