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Trump falsely claims victory with election too close to call
[WASHINGTON] President Donald Trump falsely declared early Wednesday he had won re-election against Joe Biden and said he would ask the Supreme Court to intervene, even as several battleground states continue to count votes.
"This is a fraud on the American public," Mr Trump said, complaining about ongoing vote-counting after noting that he holds leads in several states that have not been called in his favour, including Pennsylvania and Michigan.
"Frankly we did win this election," he said. "So we'll be going to the US Supreme Court. We want all voting to stop." It wasn't immediately clear what Mr Trump meant, as states including Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Georgia and others are counting legally cast votes. It is routine for states to continue counting votes after Election Day.
Minutes after Mr Trump stopped speaking, the Associated Press declared that Mr Biden had won Arizona, a state Trump won in 2016. This greatly complicates the president's path to re-election.
Mr Biden also won three of Maine's four Electoral College votes, the AP said.
Treasuries and the dollar extended gains after Mr Trump declared he had won re-election. Yields on the 10-year sovereign debt dropped as much as 13 basis points to 0.76 per cent on growing concerns over a contested result. US stock futures swung to a loss of more than 1 per cent after the president spoke.
Mr Trump delivered his remarks from the East Room of the White House, shortly before 2.30 am in New York, to a crowd of more than 100 supporters, including his family. Few if any of the people in the room wore masks to protect themselves from coronavirus infection.
Earlier, Mr Biden said he felt good about his chances to win the presidency, cautioning supporters that it would take time to finish counting the votes.
"We believe we're on track to win this election," Mr Biden told supporters in cars outside the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware. Just as he concluded his remarks, Mr Trump responded with a tweet saying that he was ahead and Democrats were trying to steal the election. Twitter placed a notice on the tweet saying that it was misleading.
The only other Electoral College vote to flip so far, besides in Arizona, came from a congressional district in Nebraska that backed Mr Biden after favouring Mr Trump in 2016.
The AP, relied on by many news organisations for election calls, said in a statement that it "is not calling the presidential race yet because neither candidate has secured the 270 electoral college votes needed to claim victory." Mr Trump won Florida, a crucial prize in the race to the White House that closed off former Vice President Biden's hopes for an early knockout in the election. The president also won Texas, which Democrats had hoped might turn blue and entirely reshape the electoral map.
Mr Trump significantly outperformed in one of Florida's most populous counties, Miami-Dade. After losing the county four years ago by 29 points, he lost by less than 8 to Mr Biden.
The county is diverse, with large Cuban and Venezuelan populations Mr Trump has courted by raising diplomatic and economic pressure on the socialist regimes in those countries. He accused Mr Biden of sharing their politics.
Earlier, Mr Trump won Ohio and Mr Biden won Minnesota, states that each candidate had sought to take from the other but wound up politically unchanged from 2016.
Ohio was the first of several battleground states decided in the race. Fox News and NBC News each called it for the incumbent just before midnight Tuesday. Mr Biden campaigned in the state the day before the election.
Fight for Minnesota Mr Trump held multiple campaign rallies in Minnesota, a state he narrowly lost to Hillary Clinton in 2016. But Mr Biden's strength in the urban parts of the state kept it in the Democratic column.
Mr Biden scored early wins in traditionally Democratic states while Trump won Republican strongholds, according to the Associated Press and networks.
Other battleground states that remain undecided include North Carolina, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan. Mr Trump holds leads in North Carolina and Georgia, though there are votes outstanding in each. Mr Trump won both states in 2016.
Mr Biden's Arizona and Maine wins gave him a 238-213 lead in the Electoral College, 32 votes from the 270 required for victory.
In addition, Mr Biden won Nebraska's second congressional district, Minnesota, Hawaii, California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, New York, Virginia, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, Rhode Island, New Mexico, Delaware, District of Columbia and New Hampshire, according to the AP.
Mr Trump won Nebraska's other four Electoral College votes, Ohio, Florida, Texas, Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, West Virginia, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Missouri.
Nebraska is one of only two states, with Maine, that award an Electoral College vote to the winner of each congressional district. Mr Trump won two districts and Biden won one. Mr Trump won the state overall, giving him Nebraska's two remaining Electoral College votes.
Even if they yet claim the White House, a "blue wave" that Democrats hoped would also give them control of both chambers of Congress may fall short.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, was re-elected, the AP said. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, was re-elected despite a Democratic challenger who badly out-raised him, and Senator Doug Jones, an Alabama Democrat, was defeated by Republican Tommy Tuberville.
Former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, defeated Senator Cory Gardner, giving his party one pickup. Other contested Senate seats remain undecided.