Jumped the gun? News outlets slammed over ‘atrocious’ decision to call Arizona for Biden as new results show Trump could still win
Several news outlets made an early call that Joe Biden was set to turn Arizona blue, but the projection has since been heavily criticized, as the latest results reveal it is still possible for Donald Trump to win the state.
Two batches of results released by Maricopa County have narrowed the Democratic nominee’s lead in the state to around 69,000 votes. With approximately 275,000 ballots left to be tabulated in the county, Trump could pass Biden if he maintains his current advantage. More results will be announced on Thursday night.
The Associated Press projected in the early hours of Wednesday that Biden would win Arizona, after concluding that there were not enough outstanding ballots to allow for a Trump comeback. AP declared Biden the winner after an estimated 80 percent of the vote was counted, leaving Trump with a roughly 130,000-vote deficit. Fox News also gave the Grand Canyon State to the Democratic nominee.
Fox News Decision Desk Director stands by the Arizona call: «I’m sorry, the president is not going to be able to take over.»pic.twitter.com/X0yIy18H9O
— The Recount (@therecount) November 4, 2020
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey responded by saying it was too early to declare a victor and urged for every ballot to be counted before “making declarations.”
It’s far too early to call the election in Arizona. Election Day votes are not fully reported, and we haven’t even started to count early ballots dropped off at the polls. In AZ, we protected Election Day. Let’s count the votes — all the votes — before making declarations.
— Doug Ducey (@dougducey) November 4, 2020
Fox’s decision in particular has triggered anger from Trump supporters, with protesters who gathered outside Maricopa’s ballot-counting office chanting anti-Fox slogans.
There was similar outrage on social media. Actor and conservative commentator James Woods argued that calling Arizona for Biden was “as atrocious as Dan Rather calling Florida in 2000 while the panhandle (solid Republican) was still voting.”
Rather, who at the time was an anchor for CBS news, controversially called Florida for Democrat Al Gore in 2000, only to retract the projection. He then retracted his retraction, as the margin between Gore and Republican George W. Bush narrowed, ultimately leading to a Supreme Court battle that decided the outcome of the election.
Even CNN admitted that Trump was “on track” to flip Arizona if he maintains his lead over Biden among newly counted ballots. Rightwing pundit Mark Dice joked that, for the first time ever, he hoped the news network was correct.
The latest batch of votes in Arizona have been tallied from Maricopa county, and CNN admits Trump is tracking to win the state. pic.twitter.com/aeCucDOLW8
— Mark Dice (@MarkDice) November 5, 2020
But frustration over projecting Arizona early was not limited to conservatives. Former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson berated the move, predicting that if Trump ultimately wins, the fact Arizona was first called for Biden would cause “serious trouble.”
And if Trump wins – he probably won’t, everything has to break for him – but if he does – the fact Arizona was called the other way is going to cause serious trouble.You think the Trump “it’s rigged” folks are dangerous? Antifa says hold my beer.
— Alex Berenson (@AlexBerenson) November 5, 2020
If Biden wins Arizona, he will only need to secure Nevada to obtain the 270 electoral votes required to declare victory. The Trump campaign, however, has already requested a recount in Wisconsin and filed legal challenges in Michigan, Georgia and Pennsylvania, making it increasingly unlikely that there will be a clear victor by Thursday. Biden has said he is on pace to secure victory but has stopped short of declaring the contest over. Trump, on the other hand, said that he had won the election after results showed him leading in battleground states. He claims that Biden’s comeback in several states, purportedly fueled by mail-in and absentee votes, is fraudulent.