RESIDENTIAL RACE: Northern battlegrounds hold key
ELECTION RESULTS: Florida and Tampa Bay
FLORIDA SENATE: Republicans maintain control
CNN White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins reports that Georgia’s secretary of state will make an announcement at 10:30 a.m. Thursday.
WXIA-TV reporter Brendan Keefe also says Georgia will have more to report in the morning.
12 a.m. ET: Trump backers converge on vote centers in Michigan, Arizona
Dozens of angry supporters of President Donald Trump converged on vote-counting centers in Detroit and Phoenix as the returns went against him Wednesday in the two key states, while thousands of anti-Trump protesters demanding a complete tally of the ballots in the still-undecided election took to the streets in cities across the U.S.
“Stop the count!” the Trump supporters chanted in Detroit. ""Stop the Steal," they chanted in Phoenix.
The protests came as the president insisted without evidence that there were major problems with the voting and the ballot counting, especially with mail-in votes, and as Republicans filed suit in various states over the election.
10:30 p.m. ET: Democrats' Senate drive halted by GOP; key races undecided
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats faced increasingly long odds as the the battle for Senate control hangs in balance, and Republicans brushed back multiple challengers to protect their majority. Still, it was too soon for the GOP to declare victory.
In Michigan, Democrats were spared a loss late Wednesday when Sen. Gary Peters beat back a tough challenge from Republican John James. But Republicans held on to Susan Collins in Maine and other key seats across the map.
10 p.m. ET: ‘Total systemic failure’: Florida Democrats suffer
MIAMI — For Florida Democrats, President Donald Trump’s decisive victory in Florida and down-ballot carnage, particularly in Miami-Dade County, should not have been a surprise.
But it was.
Democrats lost five state House of Representative seats, including two in Miami-Dade, bringing the Republican balance to 78, compared to 42 Democrats. Republicans forced what appeared to be a safe Democratic state Senate seat in Miami into a recount and two Democratic incumbent congresswomen were also defeated.
"Total systemic failure. Party, caucuses, affiliated & independent groups,'' wrote Democratic state Rep. Javier Fernandez on Twitter, hours after losing a bitter and expensive contest for state Senate in Miami. “People have spoken & clearly said they don’t want what we are offering. Unforgivable part is that no one saw this coming.”
9:30 p.m. ET: Michigan Democrat Gary Peters wins Senate reelection
WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrat Gary Peters has held onto his Senate seat in Michigan. He has defeated Republican challenger John James, a Black business executive and former combat veteran.
The 61-year-old Peters continued Democrats' dominance of Senate elections in the presidential battleground state. Republicans, who have won just one Senate seat in Michigan since the 1970s, spent heavily to try to unseat Peters in one of their few pickup opportunities.
9:15 p.m. ET: Florida voters passed a minimum wage increase. What does that mean?
TALLAHASSEE — On a day when Floridians were sharply divided over the direction of the country, voters gave enthusiastic support on Tuesday for an idea that could have a sweeping impact on the state: raising the state’s minimum wage.
Overcoming threats from business groups that the idea would wreak economic devastation, just over 60 percent of Floridians voted to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2026. That’s about 720,000 more votes than Tuesday’s presidential winner in Florida, Donald Trump.
On Wednesday, those business groups appeared resigned to the measure. Some companies and their employees celebrated. Others were left wondering whether Republican lawmakers would try to subvert it as they have with other measures passed by voters.
9 p.m. ET: How Donald Trump won Florida
President Donald Trump’s 3.4 percentage victory in Florida — a landslide by Sunshine State standards — was built on dozens of smaller wins.
In a state often decided on the margins, Trump’s campaign targeted groups of voters who don’t traditionally vote Republican but could be persuaded to the other side for this election — like Jewish voters, Latinos and Hispanics and Black voters who identify as Christian or socially conservative.
But Trump’s intense focus on Florida, his home state, and its 29 Electoral College votes also pulled his attention from other battlegrounds. And his victory here will be a blip in the history books if he ultimately loses to Biden after ceding Wisconsin, Michigan and perhaps Arizona, states he won four years ago.
8:45 p.m. ET: In Hillsborough, new School Board majority favors teachers
TAMPA — At a time of abrupt change in the Hillsborough County Public Schools, Tuesday’s election results could shift the relationship between the district’s new leaders and its teachers.
Voters rejected two sitting School Board members, including Steve Cona III, the strongest supporter of its new superintendent.
They retained longtime former teacher Lynn Gray. All four candidates who prevailed were endorsed by the Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association.
8:30 p.m. ET: Oregon leads the way in decriminalizing hard drugs
SALEM, Ore. — In a first in the nation, Oregon has rejected charging drug users with criminal offenses, with voters passing a ballot measure that decriminalizes possession of heroin, methamphetamine, LSD, oxycodone and other hard drugs.
The measure completely changes how Oregon’s justice system treats those who are found with personal-use amounts of the hard drugs.
8 p.m. ET: Florida has likely recount in this Senate race separated by 21 votes
MIAMI — In the wee hours of the morning after Election Day, Miami Democratic state Sen. José Javier Rodríguez was trailing Republican challenger Ileana Garcia by just 21 votes.
The razor-thin margin of votes means a likely recount in the race for Senate District 37, a seat Rodríguez won four years ago and was fighting to defend.
7:15 p.m. ET: Election officials scramble to count ballots in key states
ATLANTA (AP) — Election officials in several key states furiously counted ballots Wednesday as the nation awaited the outcome of the race between President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden and braced for possible recounts and legal challenges.
Unlike in previous years, states were contending with an avalanche of mail ballots driven by the global pandemic. Every election, what’s reported on election night are unofficial results, and the counting of votes extends past Election Day. This year, with so many mail ballots and close races in key states, counting every vote was expected to take more time.
6:45 p.m. ET: Election splits Congress, GOP bolstered as Democrats falter
WASHINGTON (AP) — The election scrambled seats in the House and Senate but ultimately left Congress much like it began, deeply split as voters resisted big changes despite the heated race at the top of the ticket for the White House.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi was on track to keep control of the Democratic House, but saw her majority shrinking and her leadership called into question. Republicans' control of the Senate tilted their way as GOP senators fended off an onslaught of energized challengers, though a few races remained undecided Wednesday.
6 p.m. ET: Joe Biden wins Michigan, nears 270 electoral votes
WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrat Joe Biden has carried Michigan and its 16 electoral votes, further dismantling Donald Trump’s Rust Belt wall of support that helped deliver him the presidency four years ago.
The flip from red back to blue was a huge blow to Trump, whose victories in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania in 2016 sent him to the White House. Biden also carried Wisconsin, though Pennsylvania hasn’t been called yet.
4:30 p.m. ET: Trump sues in Pennsylvania, Michigan; asks for Wisconsin recount
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s campaign filed lawsuits Wednesday in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Georgia, laying the groundwork for contesting battleground states as he slipped behind Democrat Joe Biden in the hunt for the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the White House.
The new filings, joining existing Republican legal challenges in Pennsylvania and Nevada, demand better access for campaign observers to locations where ballots are being processed and counted, and absentee ballot concerns, the campaign said. However, at one Michigan location in question The Associated Press observed poll watchers from both sides monitoring on Wednesday.Trump sues in 3 states, laying ground for contesting outcome
The Trump campaign also is seeking to intervene in a Pennsylvania case at the Supreme Court that deals with whether ballots received up to three days after the election can be counted, deputy campaign manager Justin Clark said.
The actions reveal an emerging legal strategy that the president had signaled for weeks, namely that he would attack the integrity of the voting process in states where the result could mean his defeat.
His campaign also announced that it would ask for a recount in Wisconsin, a state The Associated Press called for Democrat Joe Biden on Wednesday afternoon. Campaign manager Bill Stepien cited “irregularities in several Wisconsin counties,” without providing specifics.
4 p.m. ET: Levinson concedes Hillsborough commission race to Cohen
Republican Scott Levinson on Wednesday has conceded the Hillsborough County Commission District 1 race to Democrat Harry Cohen.
Unofficial results showed Cohen winning by a 2,613-vote margin out of more than 179,000 votes cast. Levinson said Tuesday night he would wait until all provisional ballots were counted before commenting, even though Cohen has issued a victory statement.
Levinson said he called Cohen to offer his congratulations.
3:25 p.m. ET: They call it curing, not ‘fixing’
You better not try to cast a ballot any more in Hillsborough County, but you can still deal with a questionable signature, reports Allison Ross of the Tampa Bay Times. Through tomorrow, anyway. The clock is ticking.
3:15 p.m. ET: What’s in the cards for Nevada?
Don’t bother refreshing your browser any more today to find out who wins Nevada.
The Elections Division of the Secretary of State’s office wants all day Wednesday to focus, undistracted, on counting “tens of thousands” of mail-in ballots, reports the Review Journal of Las Vegas.
Joe Biden was holding a slim lead with two-out-of-three ballots counted in the hotly contested battle for the Silver State’s six electoral votes.
2:45 p.m. ET: A droll tweet sums up the day after
By mid-afternoon, a verse both wry and apt had been shared nearly 20,000 times.
2:30 p.m. ET: AP calls Wisconsin for Biden
"The fate of the United States presidency hung in the balance Wednesday as Democratic challenger Joe Biden picked up a win in Wisconsin while fighting President Donald Trump in other battleground states that could prove crucial in determining who wins the White House.
“Neither candidate cleared the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the White House, and the margins were tight in several other battleground states. Top advisers for both Biden and Trump on Wednesday morning expressed confidence that they respectively had the likelier path to victory in the outstanding states.”
1:55 p.m. ET: Which state to call when? AP explains
At what point a media organization decides that a presidential candidate has won a state is coming under scrutiny again this year.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis isn’t the only one questioning why Fox News called Arizona for Joe Biden before all the votes were counted in the Grand Canyon state. The right-leaning network even felt compelled to bring its decision desk chief on the air to explain himself.
The Associated Press, relied upon by the Tampa Bay Times and local newspapers nationwide, is describing its process of calling a state for a candidate in detail.
You can read the self-analysis, state by state, here.
12:45 p.m. ET: Gov. DeSantis takes a victory lap
Gov. Ron DeSantis held a mid-day news conference to boast of Florida’s success in running a clean election, to welcome GOP wins on Election Day, to criticize states like North Carolina for failing to finish their counts, and to blast TV news for what he saw as a “disappointing” delay in calling Florida for Donald Trump.
“By 9-9:30, this was in the bag,” DeSantis said, " ... and there was a real resistance to just recognize reality."
Maybe even 8:30, he added. Yet the call by networks including right-leaning Fox News came much later in the evening.
DeSantis contrasted the delay with what he saw as a lack of caution in the decision to call Arizona for Biden on Tuesday night. Fox “jumped the gun” on the Grand Canyon State, DeSantis said, calling it “inexplicable” and questioning whether decisions on when to call a state were made with ratings in mind.
On the drama-free election process, DeSantis praised Laurel Lee, the Hillsborough County judge he appointed as secretary of state, and invoked the image of the hanging chad in Palm Beach County that helped delay the conclusion of the 2000 presidential election for weeks.
“Perhaps 2020 is the year we vanquish Bush versus Gore," he said.
12:15 p.m. ET: What’s the delay in North Carolina?
President Trump held a 1 point lead at mid-day, but at least 117,000 of the Tar Heel state’s absentee ballots were still out, according to the latest word from the state Board Elections.
The board on Wednesday morning didn’t immediately respond to a request for an update, the Charlotte Observer reported. The Associated Press said the number of uncounted ballots was about 200,000.
11:05 a.m. ET: Voters choose to retain state judges
Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed Muñiz to the state Supreme Court last year. No Florida Supreme Court justice has lost a merit-retention election and Muniz’s bid drew no visible opposition.
10:30 a.m. ET: A post-election ‘Pants on fire’
Here’s the take from our partners at PolitiFact on President Trump’s early morning declaration that the election is over and he wins:
“Ballots are routinely counted after Election Day for a number of different reasons, in states controlled by both Republicans and Democrats. Despite Trump’s remarks, the counting of legal ballots continues across the country, not just in states that remain too close to call.”
10:15 a.m. ET: Now Biden’s up a little in Michigan
The latest Associated Press map update shows the Democratic challenger is on top of President Trump by .03 points with 95 percent of the expected vote counted. Scroll down a bit on the tampabay.com home page to see it. Ten electoral votes are at stake.
8:30 a.m. ET: Michigan results may come soon
The latest reports say 90 percent of the vote has been counted in Michigan and President Donald Trump holds a narrow lead over Joe Biden, 49.4 percent to 49.1 percent.
But the secretary of state told CNN early Wednesday that final results should be released sooner than the three days she had predicted.
Michigan has 16 electoral votes. The winning total is 270, and Biden leads Trump according to the latest Associated Press map 238 to 217.
“What we’ve seen is such high efficiency and so little problems that I now think we’ll clearly get results much sooner,” Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson told CNN. “We anticipate a mix of both in-person voting results and absentee voting results will be part of the results, the first results, you hear out of Michigan.”
Still, the Wayne County clerk in Detroit would not commit to a final count by end of day Wednesday. “We’re not in a competition,” clerk Cathy Garrett said.
7:45 a.m. ET: Minimum wage measure ekes out win
There was still 1 percent to be counted at 5:30 a.m. today, but the latest election results show the vote is all in and Amendment 2 — to raise the minimum wage in Florida — received just enough votes to pass.
The breakdown was 60.8 percent to 39.2 percent. Constitutional amendments in Florida require 60 percent of the vote to be adopted. The minimum wage will rise year by year to $15 an hour under the measure.
Four of the six amendments passed while two were defeated, one to open party primary votes to all voters and the other to toughen requirements for passing amendments.
See the results of the vote on all the proposed amendments at the Tampa Bay Times Election Results page.
7:15 a.m. ET: Reaction to Trump’s 'stop counting’
The Associated Press updates its report with reaction to President Trump’s 2:30 a.m. declaration from the White House.
"President Donald Trump says he’ll take the presidential election to the Supreme Court, but it’s unclear what he means in a country in which vote tabulations routinely continue beyond Election Day, and states largely set the rules for when the count has to end.
“'We’ll be going to the U.S. Supreme Court — we want all voting to stop,' Trump said early Wednesday.
“But the voting is over. It’s only counting that is taking place across the nation. No state will count absentee votes that are postmarked after Election Day.”
7:00 a.m. ET: Uncounted ballots in Pennsylvania
Donald Trump leads but Joe Biden may hold the edge among ballots not counted yet in the key swing state of Pennsylvania, with 20 electoral votes. Here’s what the Philadelphia Inquirer is reporting this morning.
"Despite President Donald Trump’s claim that his early lead in Pennsylvania based on partial vote totals is ‘going to be almost impossible to catch,’ most mail ballots had not yet been counted and released as of 3 a.m. Wednesday.
"And those ballots will heavily favor Joe Biden.
"Not only did Democrats vote by mail at much higher rates than Republicans, the majority of mail ballots left come from heavily Democratic areas.
“Out of more than 2.5 million mail ballots cast, 1.1 million had been counted and included by 3 a.m. in the unofficial totals posted on the Pennsylvania Department of State’s website.”
6:45 a.m. ET: Biden gains edge in Wisconsin
Here’s what the Wisconsin State Journal is reporting this morning on the presidential race in the state, which has 10 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win election.
"With Republican President Donald Trump leading Wisconsin in early returns for most of the night, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is now managing a razor-thin lead in the state after Milwaukee delivered results from thousands of absentee ballots.
"The race, however, still hangs in the balance, with absentee ballot results in Kenosha and Brown Counties still outstanding.
"Absentee ballot returns are expected to arrive shortly from Brown County and Kenosha County.
“If those absentee ballots feature substantial enough Democratic margins, it could deliver the state for Biden, however, the race is expected to be extremely close.”