First, they called Arizona for Biden. Now it’s on knife edge

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BY NIKHILA NATARAJAN
New York, Nov 6 (IANS)
First, the Associated Press (AP) and Fox News declared Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden the winner of Arizona. Now, its on razors edge. In this almost ‘knowable but not yet ‘callable US election, an anxious country is watching wild swings in this battleground and the four other biggies where results are yet to be finalised.
In Arizona, less than 300,000 votes remain to be counted. Biden’s lead has shrunk from 9 per cent (when AP called it), to 4.2 per cent and now trending sharply lower. Just about 42,000 votes now separate Biden and President Donald Trump. Arizona delivers 11 electoral votes to the winner.
The final rush of votes favour Trump. He needs to keep winning at around 59 per cent to win the state. At least 94 per cent of the vote is in here. A huge chunk of votes will come in by 9 a.m. EST on Friday – those numbers will be crucial.
So, let’s dial it back a bit. How did we get here, from AP and Fox calling the race for Biden to “too close to call” according to NBC at this hour? And why does it matter?
It matters because Trump needs Arizona, he needs Pennsylvania and he needs some combination of the other states to pull off a sensational comeback.
Arizona is essential but not sufficient for Trump, so too Pennsylvania.
The AP decided to call Arizona’s 11 electoral votes for Biden after it “concluded President Trump could not catch up” based on the remaining ballots, AP Executive Editor Sally Buzbee told IANS.
In an emailed response, Buzbee said: “The Associated Press continues to watch and analyze vote count results from Arizona as they come in. The AP declared Joe Biden the winner in Arizona at 2:50 a.m. EST Wednesday after an analysis of ballots cast statewide concluded President Donald Trump could not catch up based on the ballots left to be counted. We will follow the facts in all cases.”
The Trump campaign is raging over the Arizona call, because a loss there makes it especially hard for Trump to claw back, given how the map looks two days out from election day. This is a state where Republican voters traditionally use mail in ballots and Trump feels confident the late count will be good for him.
The networks which did not call Arizona said they held back because more than 450,000 votes still had to be counted as of Thursday morning.
Based on the AP calculation, Biden is at 264 while Trump trails with 214 electoral votes. The winning number is 270. AP’s Buzbee did not say if they were rethinking the decision.
Fox News has also called Arizona for Biden. Based on the AP and Fox calculations, Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris are just six electoral votes away from victory. The Fox team continues to stand by its decision to put Arizona in Biden’s column.
Minus Arizona, five other states – Pennsylvania, Georgia, North Carolina, Nevada and Alaska – have still to report results.
Pennsylvania is counting votes all night. If Biden wins, it’s game over for Trump. If Trump wins Penn State’s 20 electoral votes, he’ll still need to get lucky in almost all of the other remaining states to strike 270.
The Biden and Harris team has already unveiled its “transition” website. Biden has urged “patience” and exuded optimism even as the vote count in key battlegrounds continues its slow march towards conclusion. The Biden team planned to make an announcement tonight and even had a stage on the ready but decided against it around the time the Arizona race got tighter.
The Arizona state of play has brought back memories of that landmark 2000 battle for Florida.
It was called for Al Gore, and then for George W. Bush, and then went to the Supreme Court which ruled 5-4 for Bush.

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