- January 6, 2021
- Latest Update: January 6, 2021 3:08 am
- 8 minutes read
Trump refutes report about Pence’s comments on certification of Biden’s win
Results continue to come in from Georgia, but the president has just released a statement about the electoral college vote count in Congress tomorrow.
Donald Trump was responding to this report from the New York Times, which says Mike Pence has informed the president that he does not have the power to block the congressional certification of Joe Biden’s victory.
The president pushed back against the report, claiming that he and Pence “are in total agreement that the Vice President has the power to act.”
“The New York Times report regarding comments Vice President Pence supposedly made to me today is fake news. He never said that,” Trump said in the statement released by his reelection campaign.
The president went on to recycle his baseless claims of widespread fraud in the November election, despite presenting no evidence to support those assertions.
Reality check: Biden won the presidential election; his victory will be certified by Congress tomorrow, and he will be sworn in on January 20.
The significance of Raphael Warnock’s potential victory in Georgia’s special Senate race is monumental.
If he wins, Warnock would be the first Black person to represent Georgia in the Senate, even though African Americans make up nearly a third of the state’s population.
Warnock would also be just the second African American elected to represent a southern state in the Senate since the end of Reconstruction.
The Guardian goes by the AP’s race calls, so we are not yet declaring a winner in either of the Georgia Senate runoff races.
With that major caveat in mind, it’s worth noting that Dave Wasserman, a widely respected editor of the Cook Political Report, is calling Georgia’s special Senate race for Democrat Raphael Warnock.
A fun fact for the Georgia races: if Jon Ossoff wins tonight, he will be the youngest senator since Joe Biden took office in 1973.
Biden was just 30 when he was first sworn in as a US senator from Delaware, and Ossoff is 33.
If Ossoff perfectly followed Biden’s career path, that would mean he would become president in 2069.
Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler have now taken slight leads in the two runoff races, with about 69% of votes counted.
But things are still looking quite promising for Democratic candidates Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, who are outperforming Joe Biden’s November numbers in many counties.
Overall, it appears Democrats still hold the advantage in both races – and are thus more likely to control the Senate.
Top Georgia Republican blames Trump for disappointing results so far
Gabriel Sterling, a top Republican official in the Georgia secretary of state’s office, blamed Donald Trump for the party’s potential losses tonight.
Sterling told CNN that, if David Perdue and/or Kelly Loeffler lose, then the blame for that will “fall squarely on the shoulders of President Trump and his actions since November 3”.
Sterling, who has repeatedly refuted Trump’s baseless claims of widespread fraud in the November election, said the president’s evidence-free assertions sent a message to Republicans that their votes would not matter.
Sterling also said Trump was singlehandedly responsible for a “civil war” among Georgia Republicans since 3 November.
Republicans are not feeling too confident about Georgia right now, as this text from one Republican strategist to an NBC News reporter shows:
Democrats are feeling cautiously optimistic about the Georgia Senate runoffs, and they are thanking Stacey Abrams for her voter registration and turnout efforts in the state.
From writer Charlotte Clymer:
Abrams ran for governor in 2018, and she blamed her loss to Republican Brian Kemp on voter suppression in Georgia. Since then, she has done extensive work to get more Georgia Democrats registered to vote.
With the caveat that it’s still early and about half of Georgia votes still need to be counted, there are signs that Republicans are not hitting the level of turnout they need to overcome Democrats’ advantage from early voting.
If that trend holds, it could spur some soul-searching among Republicans, who don’t appear to perform as well when Donald Trump is not on the ballot.
To pivot away from Georgia for a moment, a spokesperson for George W Bush has announced that he and his wife, Laura Bush, will attend Joe Biden’s inauguration later this month.
“President and Mrs. Bush look forward to returning to the Capitol for the swearing in of President Biden and Vice President Harris,” spokesman Freddy Ford said in a tweet.
Ford added in another tweet, “I believe this will be the eighth inauguration they’ve had the privilege of attending – President Trump’s being the most recent – and witnessing the peaceful transfer of power is a hallmark of our democracy that never gets old.”
Besides Trump, who continues to peddle baseless claims of widespread fraud in the November election, Bush is the only living Republican president.
Conservative commentator Erick Erickson acknowledged that things are looking a bit bleak for Republicans in Georgia right now, as turnout in conservative-leaning counties trails turnout in liberal-leaning counties.
All polls in Georgia have now officially closed, a senior Republican official in the secretary of state’s office said. One polling location in Ware county was kept open an extra hour, until 8pm ET, because a traffic accident briefly blocked access to the site.
With nearly a third of the expected votes counted, the Cook Political Report’s Dave Wasserman says the likeliest outcome at this point is a Democratic sweep of both Georgia Senate seats.
There are some early warning signs for Republicans in Georgia. In Ben Hill county, where vote-counting appears to be nearly completed, Republican David Perdue is running slightly behind Donald Trump’s performance in November, with lower turnout in the conservative-leaning county.
So Perdue is a bit worse off than Trump, who overall lost Georgia by about 12,000 votes in November. But there’s still plenty of counting left to do.
Election day turnout is so far exceeding expectations, which is good news for Republicans, who were counting on high turnout today.
But the election results so far have been slightly better for Democrats than expected, so it’s unclear whether Republicans will gain enough from today’s voting to pull ahead in the Senate races, as the New York Times’ Nate Cohn notes.
The Guardian’s Sam Levine reports from Atlanta, Georgia:
The voting part of Georgia’s high-stakes election appears to have gone off relatively smoothly.
On Tuesday afternoon, Georgia election officials said the longest reported wait to vote was 20 minutes. I visited three polling places today – one in Atlanta and two in suburban Cobb county. There was no wait and all the voters reported being able to cast their ballots quickly.
The smoothness is notable in Georgia, a state where voters saw severely long lines to vote in the June primary and where there has been close scrutiny over voter suppression.
Now, there will likely be close scrutiny on the vote counting process, something Donald Trump and other Republicans have railed against since the November election.
Numbers update: With about 13% of ballots in, Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff are slightly ahead of their Republican opponents.
Warnock has 282,257 votes to Kelly Loeffler’s 251,190 votes, representing a 5.8-point advantage.
Ossoff has a similar edge over David Perdue. While Perdue has 264,871 votes, Ossoff has 288,960 votes, so the Democrat is leading by 4.4 points.