President election still undecided as swing states tighten » The presidential election is still undecided. As of very early this morning, several critical battleground states were still too close to call.
The race has tightened in Pennsylvania. With 95 percent of the votes in, Joe Biden now trails President Trump by just a fraction of 1 percent.
Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar urged the public to be patient.
BOOCKVAR: It’s very close in Pennsylvania, right? There’s no question. So that means it’s going to take longer to actually see who the winner is.
And in Georgia, the race is even tighter. On Thursday night, President Trump saw his lead shrink to less than 2,000 votes. That’s out of almost 5 million votes cast. Officials have counted 98 percent of the votes there. And Trump conceded that he may be trailing in Georgia when the count is complete.
But the news is better for the president in Arizona. The race has tightened there in his favor. This morning, with 90 percent of the votes in, Biden’s lead was down to about 1-and-a-half percent.
At the White House on Thursday, President Trump claimed that the only way Democrats can reclaim the White House is through voter fraud.
TRUMP: This is a case where they’re trying to steal an election. They’re trying to rig an election, and we can’t let that happen.
He said if only legal votes are counted, he’ll win easily.
TRUMP: We think there is going to be a lot of litigation, because we have so much evidence, so much proof. And it’s going to end up, perhaps, at the highest court in the land.
But some Republicans immediately pushed back, including Trump adviser former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. He told ABC News.
CHRISTIE: If you’re going to say those things from behind the podium at the White House—It’s his right to do it. It’s his right to pursue legal action. But show us the evidence. We heard nothing today about any evidence.
But some GOP lawmakers joined Trump supporters in public protests Thursday, like Georgia Congressman Doug Collins.
COLLINS: It always seems to be the counties that are run by Democrats that always seem to have the problem.
Many protesters have shown up to polling locations with signs that say “stop the steal.” Others say they only want more transparency from election officials.
Senate Majority may be decided in January » While voters may have to wait a little longer to find out who won the White House, they may have to wait until next year to learn which party controls the Senate.
If Democrats win the White House, they would need two more Senate seats to claim the majority. And there are currently two undecided races in the state of Georgia.
One of those contests is already heading to a January 5th runoff election between GOP Senator Kelly Loeffler and Democrat Raphael Warnock.
In Georgia’s other Senate race, incumbent Republican David Perdue still leads Democrat John Ossoff by 2 percent. But his share of the vote slipped under the 50 percent mark on Thursday. If that’s where it stays, then by state law, that race will also head to a January runoff.
John Ossoff told CNN…
OSSOFF: I believe that history right now is unfolding in Georgia, with two Senate races, two Senate runoffs in a single state, and as you have pulled up on screen, the presidential hanging in the balance here as well.
There is one other Senate race that is still too close to call. That is in North Carolina where GOP Senator Thom Tillis has a 2 point lead over Cal Cunningham with 94 percent of the votes in. Republicans are confident that lead will hold.
Republicans cut into Democratic House majority » Regardless of what happens in the Senate, Democrats will retain control of the House.
But not only did they fail to expand their majority, Republicans have picked off at least eight Democratic seats while losing only two so far.
Among the surprising GOP gains, a South Florida district held by former Clinton cabinet member Donna Shalala. Maria Elvira Salazar told supporters…
SALAZAR: I am honored to officially accept the position as your congresswoman for District number 27.
And out of 27 House races that the New York Times classified as toss-ups, Republicans have won or are leading 26 of them. And they could ultimately flip as many as 12 seats.
Democrats rode a 2018 midterm wave into a comfortable House Majority. They won 41 seats and now hold an edge of 232 to 197.
But when vote counting is finished, they could end up with the slimmest House majority in two decades.
Jobless claims fall slightly » The number of Americans seeking jobless benefits fell slightly last week to 751,000.
Thursday’s Labor Department report also said the number of people continuing to receive benefits declined to 7.3 million.
But those numbers are still historically high, and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told reporters Thursday…
POWELL: We are committed to using our full range of tools to support the economy and to help ensure that the recovery from this difficult period will be as robust as possible.
The Fed announced no new actions after its latest policy meeting but left the door open to further assistance in the coming months. And it kept its benchmark interest rate at a record low near zero.
Powell has repeatedly urged Congress to provide further relief to Americans. He said amid the pandemic, the outlook for the economy is—in his words— “extraordinarily uncertain.”
AstraZeneca expects vaccine data to be available by year-end » But progress continues toward a coronavirus vaccine.
One major drugmaker hopes to prove its COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective by the end of this year. WORLD’s Anna Johansen Brown has that story.
ANNA JOHANSEN BROWN, REPORTER: AstraZeneca is ramping up manufacturing so it can supply hundreds of millions of doses in January. That according to the company’s CEO Pascal Soriot on Thursday.
The Anglo-Swedish drugmaker is working with the University of Oxford to develop one of the most closely watched COVID-19 vaccines. It’s now in late stage trials in the United States, Britain, and other countries. Once those results are reported, regulators will have to approve the vaccine for widespread use.
Soriot said the company plans to have doses ready to ship as soon as the clinical trials are over. And he added, “On a global basis, we’ll be ready to supply hundreds of millions of doses by January.”
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Anna Johansen Brown.