GOP May Keep Senate and Dems Hold House, but Presidency Hangs on Knife’s Edge

(Christopher Millette/Erie Times-News via AP)

(CN) — The presidential election continued to hang in the balance Wednesday morning, with Democrat Joe Biden holding narrow leads over President Donald Trump in enough states that — if margins hold — will deliver him the White House.

Both camps have expressed confidence the tallies are on their side. 

A Biden victory would be an enormous one for Democrats, particularly as their hopes to recapture the U.S. Senate from Republicans all but vanished as Tuesday night dragged on. 

Several states continue to count mail-in ballots, including the three states so critical to Trump’s surprise victory in 2016 — Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. 

Michigan and Wisconsin turned blue as counting continued overnight. But a profusion of mail-in ballots remains uncounted in Pennsylvania as of press time Wednesday morning. 

Election officials expect to have results in Michigan, Wisconsin and Georgia sometime Wednesday. Nevada elections officials said their tallies won’t be updated until Thursday. Pennsylvania will take much longer, with results not expected to until Friday at the earliest.

Prognosticators and pollsters who had the election as a landslide for Biden were wrong, as election night provided a roller coaster ride for both parties and both candidates fought to a draw. Trump and Biden are dozens of electoral votes short of the 270 needed to win the presidency. 

As of Wednesday morning, Biden held narrow leads in Michigan, Wisconsin, Maine, Arizona and Nevada. If those leads hold, the White House is his. 

But Trump made an appearance before supporters in the early morning hours and cast doubt on the integrity of the election, calling it a fraud and declaring a premature victory — a move that was roundly criticized by pundits and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and walked back nearly immediately but Vice President Mike Pence as Trump looked on. 

The Trump campaign has deployed lawyers to Pennsylvania, with three lawsuits filed. One in Montgomery County asks a judge to sequester mail-in ballots with signature issues. 

Georgia and North Carolina have also not been called, though Trump leads in both states as counts continue. 

Biden had hoped to carry those two states as well as Florida and Ohio, both of which went firmly to Trump. The relative ease of the GOP victories in Florida and Ohio cast doubt as to whether both can even be called battlegrounds any longer.

Control of the Senate may hinge on Georgia, where a pair of races featuring Republican incumbents trying to fend off Democratic challengers remain inconclusive. 

Jon Ossof, the Democrat, has fought incumbent Senator David Perdue to an essential draw as ballots remain uncounted. Democrat Raphael Warnock will face off against Republican incumbent Kelly Loeffler in a runoff. 

The Democrats had also hoped to win a seat in Maine, but Republican incumbent Susan Collins beat back a challenge by Democrat Sara Gideon who conceded Wednesday afternoon.

Democrats managed to wrest some seats away from Republicans, however. Former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper beat Republican Senator Corey Gardner handily. And former space shuttle commander Mark Kelly, a Democratic candidate from Arizona, took a Senate seat from GOP incumbent Martha McSally in a close race. 

Democrats had designs on Republican-held seats in Iowa, South Carolina and Montana, but were rebuffed. They also had their sights set on Lindsey Graham, Republican senator from South Carolina who has closely aligned himself with Trump. 

Democrats had hoped the electorate would repudiate Trump and all those aligned with him, but instead many of his Senate allies prevailed. And the presidential race remains too tight to be able to construe the results as an unequivocal rebuke of the president. 

In Texas, where Democrats dreamed of making inroads in a rapidly changing state, Republican incumbent John Cornyn prevailed comfortably over Democratic challenger Mary Hegar.

More than 56 races for the U.S. House of Representatives remain too close to call, including several in California, Nevada and Arizona. As of press time Tuesday morning, Democrats retain control of the house with 194 seats to 184 seats held by Republicans. 

Most pundits expect Democrats to retain control of the House. 

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