Editor’s note: This is a live account of Election 2020 updates from Sunday, Nov. 8, as the day unfolded. It is no longer being updated. Click here for full coverage of the 2020 Election.
Democrat Joe Biden has won Pennsylvania, surpassing the 270 electoral vote threshold to take the White House and become the 46th president of the United States, The Associated Press reported Saturday.
Biden’s victory came after more than three days of uncertainty as election officials sorted through a surge of mail-in votes.
Kamala Harris will become the first Black woman and the first South Asian person elected vice president of the U.S.
We’re posting live updates on the results and related news in Washington and across the U.S.
What to know in Washington:
In Washington, vote counting continues for days. Here’s how to see whether your ballot was accepted, a behind-the-scenes look inside the counting process in King County, and an explanation of how we declare winners.
GSA official in charge of handing transition resources to Biden isn’t budging
WASHINGTON – A Trump administration appointee is refusing to sign a letter allowing President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team to formally begin its work this week, in another sign the incumbent president has not acknowledged Biden’s victory and could disrupt the transfer of power.
The administrator of the General Services Administration, the low-profile agency in charge of federal buildings, has a little-known role when a new president is elected: to sign paperwork officially turning over millions of dollars, as well as giving access to government officials, office space and equipment authorized for the taxpayer-funded transition teams of the winner.
It amounts to a formal declaration by the federal government, outside of the media, of the winner of the presidential race.
But by Sunday evening, almost 36 hours after media outlets projected Biden as the winner, GSA Administrator Emily Murphy had written no such letter.
Read more here.
Christian churches mirror country’s political division
The messages in Christian houses of worship on the first weekend since the election were as divided as the country’s electorate, with religious leaders mostly calling for peace and unification even as some bemoaned the result and others celebrated.
Here are Trump’s allegations of election irregularities. So far, none have been proved.
WASHINGTON – Republicans have made claims of election irregularities in five states where President-elect Joe Biden leads in the vote count, alleging in lawsuits and public statements that election officials did not follow proper procedures while counting ballots in Tuesday’s election.
So far, they have gone 0 for 5.
Read more here.
Local leaders optimistic about what Biden’s election will mean for Seattle and Washington state
More COVID-19 relief. Help with the West Seattle Bridge and Sound Transit light rail. An end to President Donald Trump’s attempts to crack down on immigrants and abortions. More electric buses.
Those are some impacts President-elect Joe Biden’s administration could have in King County and Washington state, local leaders said after the race was called this past weekend.
“This is an incredibly important thing for the city of Seattle,” Mayor Jenny Durkan told reporters in a video call Saturday.
Large cities like Seattle need Congress to pass another COVID-19 economic relief package, so they can continue to help workers and small businesses rocked by the pandemic, Durkan said, also calling on Washington, D.C., to ensure that health care workers have enough personal protective equipment as cases surge.
Read more here.
Kamala Harris in a white suit, dressing for history
On Saturday night, when Kamala Harris stepped onto the stage and into history at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware, as vice president-elect of the United States, she did so in full recognition of the weight of the moment, and in full acknowledgment of all who came before. She is so many firsts: first woman to be vice president, first woman of color to be vice president, first woman of Southeast Asian descent, first daughter of immigrants. She is the representation of so many promises finally fulfilled, so many hopes and dreams.
How do you begin to express that understanding, embody the city shining on a hill? For the next four years, that will be part of the job.
She said it — “while I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last” — and she signaled it, wearing something she had not worn in any of her moments of firsts since she joined Joe Biden as his No. 2 (or, indeed, in the months before when she was running for the Democratic nomination herself): a white pantsuit with a white silk pussy-bow blouse. The two garments have been alternately fraught and celebrated symbols of women’s rights for decades, but which over the last four years have taken on even more potency and power.
Read more here.
Trump’s election night party adds to virus scrutiny
WASHINGTON (AP) — It was supposed to be a scene of celebration.
Instead, the Trump campaign’s election night watch party in the White House East Room has become another symbol of President Donald Trump’s cavalier attitude toward a virus that is ripping across the nation and infecting more than 100,000 people a day.
Polls suggest that attitude was a serious drag on the president’s reelection bid as voters chose to deny Trump a second term in favor of his Democratic rival, now President-Elect Joe Biden. And the party — with few masks and no social distancing — is now under additional scrutiny after the president’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, became the latest top White House official to contract the virus, which has now killed more than 237,000 people in the U.S. alone.
The White House has repeatedly refused to say who else has tested positive, even as the virus continues to spread.
Read more here.
For Biden fans, one unifying standard: Old Glory
WILMINGTON, Del. – If there was one enduring symbol of Joe Biden’s nationwide election night party Saturday night, it was the American flag.
In the riverfront district of Wilmington, near the parking lot from which Biden delivered his speech to the nation, flags flew everywhere. There was the Big Flag, a massive Old Glory hoisted between two cranes and visible from the interstate. It flew for a week as the ballot counting agonizingly continued, ripping at least twice, and becoming a temporary Wilmington landmark.
An American flag bigger than a barn door hung on the side of the Chase Center, which served as the backdrop for the victory speeches delivered by Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. Another draped vertically off the nearby wall of the Daniel S. Frawley minor league baseball stadium.
But perhaps its most evocative use came from everyday people. Read more here.
Stacey Abrams credited for boosting Democrats in Georgia
ATLANTA — Stacey Abrams spent years working to convince political power players that Georgia is a genuine two-party battleground, a Deep South state where the left could compete if it organized Black voters, other sporadic voters and stopped apologizing for being Democrats.
She was right.
President-elect Joe Biden is on track to become the first Democratic presidential candidate to carry the state in nearly three decades. The state’s two U.S. Senate seats are heading to a runoff after Democratic candidates mounted strong challenges to Republican incumbents, and the outcome is likely to determine which party controls the chamber.
Abrams, the onetime candidate for Georgia governor who has become perhaps the nation’s leading voice on voting rights, is being credited for paving those inroads. She raised millions of dollars to organize and register hundreds of thousands of voters and used her high profile to keep the party focused on the state.
“There’s a lot of work that’s gone into this, but Stacey really is the architect of what’s been built in Georgia,” said Dubose Porter, the former Georgia Democratic Party chairman and an Abrams mentor.
Across Washington, emotions run hot as Trump supporters feel the weight of his loss
As thousands of people poured into the streets across Washington to celebrate the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as President-elect and Vice President-elect, hundreds stood in protest.
Law enforcement Saturday afternoon kept raucous demonstrators separated from each other in a brief but tense scene at the Capitol campus in Olympia.
They were met by counter-protesters whose group was smaller in number but equally charged, that caused law enforcement to briefly close down Capitol Way and keep the group on opposite sides of the street.
The demonstrators traded insults under gray skies on the day news outlets declared Democratic nominee Biden had won enough votes to be the next president. The pro-Trump demonstration was part of a nationwide group of “Stop the Steal” rallies, according to one demonstrator. Supporters of the president held signs suggesting there has been vote fraud, as well as “Thin Blue Line” and Gadsden “Don’t Tread on Me” flags.
During his talk, founder of the far-right Patriot Prayer group and Clark County resident Joey Gibson read a letter that Trump released Saturday that challenged the validity of the vote count, and he urged those who attended to support the legal challenge being mounted by the president’s lawyers. Gibson also asked Vancouver Trump supporters to show up for another rally scheduled Sunday in Olympia.
“There are going to be a lot of events like this. This is going to be a long fight,” Gibson said.
How Joe Biden won the presidency
It was not the most inspirational campaign in recent times, nor the most daring, nor the most agile. His candidacy did not stir an Obama-like youth movement or a Trump-like cult of personality. There were no prominent reports of Biden supporters branding themselves with “Joe” tattoos and lionizing him in florid murals — or even holding boat parades in his honor. Biden campaigned as a sober and conventional presence, rather than as an uplifting herald of change. For much of the general election, his candidacy was not an exercise in vigorous creativity, but rather a case study in discipline and restraint.
In the end, voters did what Biden asked of them and not much more: They repudiated Trump, while offering few other rewards to Biden’s party. And by a popular vote margin of 4 million and counting, Americans made Biden only the third man since the World War II to topple a duly elected president after just one term.
Throughout his campaign, Biden faced persistent doubts about his political acuity and the relevance, in the year 2020, of a set of union-hall-meets-cloakroom political instincts developed mainly in the previous century.
But if Biden made numerous errors along the way, none of them mattered more in this election than the essential rightness of how he judged the character of his party, his country and his opponent. This account of his candidacy, based on interviews with four dozen advisers, supporters, elected officials and friends, reveals how fully Biden’s campaign flowed from his own worldview and political intuition.
Lame duck Congress and lame duck president face huge challenges in coming weeks
Lawmakers return to Washington on Monday for Congress’ lame duck session confronting a government shutdown deadline and crucial economic relief negotiations at a moment of extraordinary national uncertainty. President Donald Trump is refusing to concede the presidential election even as Democratic President-elect Joe Biden moves forward quickly with transition plans and coronavirus cases spike nationwide.
Even before Biden takes office on Jan. 20, Congress must contend with a Dec. 11 government funding deadline. Failure to reach a deal would result in a government shutdown. Trump would have to sign the legislation as one of his final acts in office — but he has not signaled whether he will do so.
At the same time, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., have both expressed the desire to pass new economic and health care relief measures to address the surging coronavirus pandemic — something Congress has failed to do since last spring. But it’s highly uncertain whether they’ll be able to find common ground in the weeks ahead, as McConnell pushes for a narrow and targeted bill while Pelosi continues to insist on a broader and bolder relief package.
Lame duck sessions of Congress can be ceremonial affairs, particularly as one presidential administration prepares to exit and a new ones prepares to take control. But this transition is already shaping up to be much different, as the country faces severe economic uncertainty and the coronavirus pandemic enters a deadly new phase.
Biden seeks to move quickly and build out his administration
WILMINGTON, Del. — President-elect Joe Biden signaled on Sunday he plans to move quickly to build out his government, focusing first on the raging pandemic that will likely dominate the early days of his administration.
Biden named a former surgeon general, Dr. Vivek Murthy, and a former Food and Drug Administration commissioner, David Kessler, as co-chairs of a coronavirus working group set to get started, with other members expected to be announced Monday.
Transition team officials said that also this week Biden will launch his agency review teams, the group of transition staffers that have access to key agencies in the current administration to ease the transfer of power. The teams will collect and review information such as budgetary and staffing decisions, pending regulations and other work in progress from current staff at the departments to help Biden’s team prepare to transition.
“People want the country to move forward,” said Kate Bedingfield, Biden deputy campaign manager, in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press, and see Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris “have the opportunity to do the work, to get the virus under control and to get our economy back together.”
It’s unclear for now whether President Donald Trump and his administration will cooperate.
Without Ginsburg, high court support for health law in doubt
WASHINGTON — Until six weeks ago, defenders of the Affordable Care Act could take comfort in some simple math. Five Supreme Court justices who had twice preserved the Obama-era health care law remained on the bench and seemed unlikely votes to dismantle it.
But Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death in mid-September and her replacement by Amy Coney Barrett barely a month later have altered the equation as the court prepares to hear arguments Tuesday in the third major legal challenge in the law’s 10-year existence.
Republican attorneys general in 18 states, backed by the Trump administration, are arguing that the whole law should be struck down because of a change made by the Republican-controlled Congress in 2017 that reduced the penalty for not having health insurance to zero.
A court ruling invalidating the entire law would threaten coverage for more than 23 million people. It would wipe away protections for people with preexisting medical conditions, subsidized insurance premiums that make coverage affordable for millions of Americans and an expansion of the Medicaid program that is available to low-income people in most states.
Parties gird for ferocious Georgia runoffs for 2 Senate seats
Within minutes of Joe Biden becoming president-elect Saturday, top Democrats and Republicans raced to the front lines of 2020’s last battlefront: A pair of January Senate runoffs in Georgia where the country’s racial, economic and cultural crosscurrents could help determine whether Democrats complete their takeover of Washington.
Republicans looking to turn the page on President Donald Trump’s defeat shifted their attention to the runoffs, framing them as a last line of defense against a left-wing agenda. Democrats, seeking to capitalize on their momentum and celebratory mood, promoted the races as the best way to advance Biden’s policies.
That makes the Jan. 5 runoffs an unusual finale to a tempestuous campaign rocked by a deadly pandemic, a national reckoning on race and an economic free-fall. The races will unfold in a rapidly diversifying state that has become a national bellwether, one whose votes split nearly evenly between Biden and Trump.
After netting one Senate seat last week, Democrats need to flip two more to get to 50, which would give them effective control of the chamber because Vice President Kamala Harris could cast tiebreaking votes.
Trump’s refusal to concede defies long tradition of classy speeches by losing candidates
President Donald Trump was playing golf Saturday when Joe Biden was declared the winner of the bitterly contested 2020 election. Unlike other election losers, Trump did not congratulate his opponent or give a concession speech. Instead he released a statement falsely claiming voter fraud and vowing that “this election is far from over.”
Historically, when a presidential candidate has lost, he has written, telegrammed or called his opponent to offer congratulations. In the television age, losing candidates have also made a public concession speech, almost all containing the same elements: 1) an acknowledgment of the will of voters, 2) a prayer or message of support for the winner, 3) a call to heal the divisions of the campaign, and 4) when it applies, a promise of a smooth transition of power.
For example, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who lost to Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois in 2008, not only congratulated his opponent but acknowledged the importance of the moment:
“This is an historic election, and I recognize the special significance it has for African Americans, and for the special pride that must be theirs tonight … A century ago, President Theodore Roosevelt’s invitation of Booker T. Washington to dine at the White House was taken as an outrage in many quarters. America today is a world away from the cruel and prideful bigotry of that time. There is no better evidence of this than the election of an African American to the presidency of the United States.”
Some candidates, such as Sen. Bob Dole of Kansas in 1996, attempted a joke to open their speeches.
But even if the defeat is too bitter for jokes — for instance, you lost every state but your own or you won the popular vote but not the electoral college — it is vital to still accept the results of the election.
How Georgia became a swing state for the first time in decades
If President-elect Joe Biden’s razor-thin lead in Georgia holds, 2020 will become the first year since 1992 that a Democrat wins the state. Georgia’s re-emergence as a battleground marks a major shift in its political landscape that would have seemed almost inconceivable even four years ago.
Biden leads President Donald Trump by about 10,000 votes out of 5 million cast, and Georgia state officials said that such a narrow margin makes a recount all but certain.
Yet even if a recount does reverse the result, the state has returned to the ranks of the competitive, its leftward shift propelled by a coalition of voters very unlike the one that helped Bill Clinton win the state in 1992.
Twenty-eight years later, the polarization in Georgia mirrors that in the rest of the nation. Majority White, rural counties overwhelmingly preferred Trump, while Biden benefited from an enormous margin and historic turnout in Atlanta and the surrounding suburbs, where a substantial share of voters are Black.
Mullet in slim lead in 5th Legislative District race
Sen. Mark Mullet continues to lead challenger Ingrid Anderson — now by 88 votes — in the race for the 5th Legislative District seat.
Mullet had 41,465 votes and Anderson had 41,377 votes as of Saturday evening, according to the Washington secretary of state's office. Mullet had been trailing Anderson in the race between the two Democrats for the seat representing East King County.
Mullet, an Issaquah resident who has represented Eastern King County’s 5th Legislative District since 2012, describes himself as a moderate Democrat who supports public schools, environmental causes and health care, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic. He stresses that he’s hesitant about certain tax increases and doesn’t support every tax proposal that comes across his desk.
Anderson, a nurse in Overlake Hospital’s psychiatric department, supports public schools, environmental causes and health care, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic. But Anderson, who lives outside Snoqualmie, also has said she supports taxes on capital gains and has cited Mullet’s voting record on legislation related to teacher pay.
The race between the middle-of-the-road Democrat and the further-left Democrat signals a political shift in the district, which Mullet won by single-digit percentage points against Republicans in 2012 and 2016. In this year’s primary, where Anderson received 48.5% of the vote and Mullet had 47.6%, no Republican was on the ballot.
Kamala Harris books surge in popularity after election
Books by and about Kamala Harris proved to be a popular purchase following the election. The vice president-elect was the subject or author of four books on Amazon’s top 10 Sunday.
They included her own children’s book “Superheroes Are Everywhere,” her memoir “The Truths We Hold: An American Journey,” a children’s book by her niece Meena Harris called “Kamala and Maya’s Big Idea” and Nikki Grimes’ illustrated “Kamala Harris: Rooted in Justice.”
Harris made history as the first Black woman to become vice president. The California senator, who is also the first person of South Asian descent elected to the vice presidency, will become the highest-ranking woman ever to serve in government.
Message of Election 2020: Trump lost, but Trumpism did not
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump lost. But Trumpism did not.
It won in the parts of the country and with the voters whom Trump catered to over four years, constantly jabbing the hard edges of almost every contentious cultural issue into Red America, on the bet that fear and anger were a winning hand. It almost was.
Joe Biden defeated Trump to win the presidency, and is on pace to win up to 306 electoral votes, a total that would match what Trump exaggerated as a “landslide” four years ago. In a typical election year, such a victory would mean Biden would have carried other Democrats along with him. Instead, several promising Democratic Senate and House candidates, including incumbents, lost.
For Trump, the situation was the inverse. His popularity among his base voters helped protect incumbent Republicans but was not enough to save him. He won more votes for president than any other candidate. Except Biden. The rejection of Trump was personal.
World leaders hope for fresh start after Biden win
World leaders on Sunday cheered Joe Biden’s election as U.S. president as a chance to enhance cooperation on climate change, the coronavirus and other problems after four years of President Donald Trump’s rejection of international alliances.
Trump had yet to concede defeat, but Western and Asian allies expressed hoped for a fresh start following Trump’s “American First” trade policies, withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement and attacks on NATO and the World Health Organization.
In Asia, a region on edge about the strategic ambitions of China’s ruling Communist Party, the elected leaders of Japan, South Korea and Taiwan invoked “shared values” with Washington and expressed hope for close relations.
President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan, the self-ruled island Beijing claims as part of its territory, expressed hope to “further our friendship.”
There also was no immediate reaction from Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was friendly with Trump. Other leaders who supported Trump, including President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, congratulated Biden, indicating they rejected Trump’s claim the election wasn’t over.
‘SNL’ gleefully slams ‘loser’ Trump’s defeat and celebrates Biden’s victory
LOS ANGELES — It didn’t take long for “Saturday Night Live” to come up with its comedic take on the presidential election results — complete with Maya Rudolph donning a white suit like Vice President-elect Kamala Harris wore for her acceptance speech.
Jim Carrey played President-elect Joe Biden, taking the stage and poking fun at the five-day wait for results. He even offered a throwback to one of his infamous ’90s-era lines, calling President Donald Trump a “Looooosseer!” to laughs and applause.
Carrey and Rudolph each made an L out of their hands and held them to their foreheads and were joined by Alec Baldwin, reprising his role as Trump.
At one point, Baldwin sat at a piano and sang a few lines from Village People’s “Macho Man,” a favorite of the president’s late campaign rallies.
Host Dave Chappelle opened his monologue by lighting a cigarette and calling it “a pretty incredible day.”
Seattle-born Foo Fighters also made an appearance as the show's musical guest. In addition to performing fan favorite "Times Like These," they debuted a single “Shame Shame,” from the band’s upcoming 10th album "Medicine at Midnight."
Americans pivot from red-hot Trump to Biden’s seasoned cool
WASHINGTON — In a crystallizing moment at the last presidential debate, Donald Trump and Joe Biden fielded a question about people of color who live alongside chemical plants and oil refineries that seem to be making them sick.
As is his way, Biden responded with I’ve-been-there empathy. Trump responded in his own way, too. “The families that we’re talking about are employed heavily and they are making a lot of money,” he presumed. “More money than they’ve ever made … tremendous money.”
These men were true to form, authentic in that exchange. On debate night and through the campaign they offered voters a distinct choice between a red-hot president who put the bottom line before all else and an unflashy Democrat who invited Americans to cool down and come together.
And the nation pivoted, embracing at least the chance of reconciliation in this deeply riven country. Will Americans accept the olive branch Biden extends?
After nearly five decades in public office, Biden was never going to be the most energizing candidate in the field. He had no pithy slogan like “Hope and Change” to rouse excitement. Audacity isn’t his thing, man.
Rather, he tapped a majority’s desire to stop the noise, to reject the bleating on Twitter, to turn the page from a period marked by confrontation, division and chaos, often driven by the White House itself.
Trump, who never admits defeat, mulls how to keep up fight
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump never admits defeat. But he faces a stark choice now that Democrat Joe Biden has won the White House: Concede graciously for the sake of the nation or don’t — and get evicted anyway.
After nearly four tortured days of counting yielded a victory for Biden on Saturday, Trump was still insisting the race was not over. He threw out baseless allegations of voter fraud, promised a flurry of legal action and fired off all-caps tweets falsely insisting he’d “WON THIS ELECTION, BY A LOT.”
Trump is not expected to ever formally concede, according to people close to him, but is likely to grudgingly vacate the White House at the end of his term. His ongoing efforts to paint the election as unfair are seen both as an effort to soothe a bruised ego and to show his loyal base of supporters that he is still fighting. That could be key to keeping them energized for what comes next.
“He intends to fight,” Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow said as it was becoming clear that the president was headed for defeat.
Would Trump ever concede? “I doubt it,” said Trump’s longtime friend and adviser Roger Stone, whose prison sentence was commuted by Trump in July.
Allies suggested that if Trump wants to launch a media empire in coming years, he has an incentive to prolong the drama. So, too, if he intends to keep the door open to a possible 2024 comeback — he would be only a year older then than Biden is now.
Biden promotes unity, turns to business of transition
WILMINGTON, Del. — Joe Biden used his first national address as president-elect to vow to heal a deeply divided nation, declaring it was time to “let this grim era of demonization in America begin to end” and reaching out to the millions of people who voted against him to say, “Let’s give each other a chance.”
His calls for reconciliation at a Saturday evening victory celebration came even as President Donald Trump continued to argue that the election had been stolen from him, an indication that the divisive politics that have gripped the U.S. over the past four years are far from over.
It also suggested that even as Biden seeks to build out a government during his transition to the presidency, the president has little interest in helping him do so.
“For all those of you who voted for President Trump, I understand the disappointment,” Biden said during a drive-in event in Wilmington, Delaware. “It’s time to put away the harsh rhetoric, lower the temperature, see each other again.”
This was the week that was filled with … an election, vote counting, protests and a pandemic
So how was everybody’s week?
In the midst of a mushrooming, deadly pandemic, Seattle and the country watched as an 18-month, multibillion-dollar presidential campaign culminated in days of uncertainty as key states ground from red to blue in achingly slow increments and the incumbent president sought to undermine the nation’s confidence in the process.
President Donald Trump and his allies falsely claimed that he won states that he had lost. They pleaded for ballots to stop being counted in states where he led narrowly and asked for the counting to go on in states where he trailed.
States’ election officials paid him no mind. And Joe Biden is the President-elect.
The Seattle area, which once again voted overwhelmingly against Trump, took it all in with patient equanimity, despite an undercurrent of anxiety pulsing beneath.
There have been protests, as there have been virtually every single night since May, but they haven’t been particularly large. They have been overwhelmingly peaceful. The precautionary plywood that reappeared last weekend at downtown and Capitol Hill businesses looked largely unnecessary.
In Seattle, where early results showed 90% of voters chose Biden, Election night left many disappointed. Those hoping for a resounding repudiation of a president they saw as racist and authoritarian did not get it. Those hoping for catharsis, after four years of a presidency they could barely abide, were left unsatisfied.
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