A Michigan judge has dismissed a lawsuit by President Donald Trump’s campaign in a dispute over whether Republican challengers had access to the handling of absentee ballots.
Judge Cynthia Stephens noted that the lawsuit was filed late yesterday afternoon, just hours before the last ballots were counted. She also said the defendant, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, was the wrong person to sue because she doesn’t control the logistics of local ballot counting, even if she is the state’s chief election officer.
The Associated Press called the Michigan presidential election for Democrat Joe Biden last evening. Trump won the state in 2016.
The lawsuit claimed Benson, a Democrat, was allowing absentee ballots to be counted without teams of bipartisan observers as well as challengers. She was accused of undermining the “constitutional right of all Michigan voters … to participate in fair and lawful elections.”
Benson, through state attorneys, denied the allegations. Much of the dispute centered on the TCF Center in Detroit where pro-Trump protesters gathered while absentee ballots were being counted.
U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos has been reelected to a fifth term over Republican challenger Esther Joy King in Illinois’ 17th Congressional District. Bustos is chairwoman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. She faced a spirited challenge from King, an Army Reserve captain and lawyer.
Bustos had vastly outraised King, bringing in nearly $4 million to King’s nearly $1.7 million. In previous years, Bustos had easily won reelection in the historically Democratic territory even in 2016 when the district voted for Donald Trump.
The 17th District covers much of western Illinois and also includes parts of Rockford and Peoria.
Workers in downtown Chicago this morning described constantly checking vote counts, leaving cable news on all evening and their rising frustration as they wait for a winner to be declared in the race between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.
Angela Wilkes, who lives on the South Side, said she’s been feeling high levels of anxiety waiting for a winner, but has been trying her best not to constantly keep checking for results.
“I just look. If nothing’s happened, I’m OK,” Wilkes said.
Wilkes is a Biden supporter. When asked if she believes the Democratic candidate will defeat Trump, she said “there’s always hope.”
Al Hunt, a lifelong Democrat who lives in the south suburbs, said he’s expecting not to know the winner until the end of the week, but he believes Biden will win the election “if they don’t steal it.”
Hunt said he “definitely” feels America is living through a unique moment in history, with the pending results and the coronavirus pandemic happening simultaneously. He said he is feeling “anxiety for it to be over” one way or another.
“I want Biden to win, but I’ve lived through a lot of presidents so … it won’t really change my life,” Hunt said.
Wilkes agreed, saying “even if Trump wins I’m just going to work with that.”
But Robert Benson expressed a good deal more fear and frustration about the possibilities of a Trump re-election.
Benson said he’s been constantly checking for results when he’s at home, and said he hasn’t been surprised at the president’s attempts to contest the vote count in some states.
“He ain’t doing no more than what we expected him to do,” Benson said. “He doesn’t follow the rule of the law but he preaches the law.”
Benson said he doesn’t believe the president has any basis for his claims that he already won, or that the election is being stolen. He said he worries the president and his supporters could foment violence if they keep making the claims.
“In the long run they’ll end up getting a lot of people hurt for nothing,” Benson said.
Demonstrators gathered in downtown Chicago last night, urging every vote cast in the election be counted as President Donald Trump tries to stop the effort in key battleground states.
The protest was organized by labor and political activist groups. Demonstrators marched through downtown and along a street across the river from Trump Tower. Their access to the street in front of the skyscraper was blocked by a raised bridge. Read more here.
Democrat Joe Biden has carried Michigan and its 16 electoral votes, further dismantling Donald Trump’s Rust Belt wall of support that helped deliver him the presidency four years ago.
The flip from red back to blue was a huge blow to Trump, whose victories in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania in 2016 sent him to the White House. Biden also carried Wisconsin, though Pennsylvania hasn’t been called yet.
Biden’s victory in Michigan pushes him to 264 Electoral College votes, six short of the 270 needed to win the White House. Trump is at 214 electoral votes. Nevada, which has six electoral votes, is among the states Democrat Hillary Clinton won in 2016 that hasn’t yet been called.
Biden’s campaign had particularly focused on turning out Black voters in Detroit, who failed to show up for Democrat Hillary Clinton in the numbers that Barack Obama received during his two presidential bids.
Despite needing to win Michigan, Trump took frequent swipes at the state’s Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer, who was the target of an alleged kidnapping plot that was foiled by federal law enforcement. Chants of “Lock her up!” toward Whitmer echoed at Trump’s rally, and he railed against the governor on Twitter for her cautious approach to the coronavirus pandemic.
President Donald Trump’s campaign said it has filed a lawsuit trying to halt the vote count in battleground Michigan. The latest counts give Trump’s Democratic challenger Joe Biden a small lead, but the race is still too early to call.
Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien said in a statement this afternoon that the campaign “has not been provided with meaningful access to numerous counting locations to observe the opening of ballots and the counting process, as guaranteed by Michigan law.”
He said a suit was filed today in the Michigan Court of Claims “to halt counting until meaningful access has been granted.” Michigan is a critical state that helped deliver Trump the presidency four years ago.
Joe Biden has defeated President Donald Trump in battleground Wisconsin, securing the state’s 10 electoral votes and reclaiming a key part of the blue wall that slipped away from Democrats four years ago.
The Associated Press called Wisconsin for Biden after election officials in the state said all outstanding ballots had been counted, save for a few hundred in one township and an expected small number of provisional ballots.
Trump’s campaign has requested a recount. Statewide recounts in Wisconsin have historically changed the vote tally by only a few hundred votes; Biden leads by .624 percentage points out of nearly 3.3 million ballots counted.
The victory for Biden bumps him up to 248 electoral votes, while Trump has 214. It takes 270 to win the presidency.
In 2016, Trump won Wisconsin by fewer than 23,000 votes, a breakthrough that along with wins in Michigan and Pennsylvania helped hand him his first term in the White House. Democrats were determined to reclaim Wisconsin, a state that before Trump hadn’t gone for a Republican since Ronald Reagan in 1984.
Republican State Sen. Jim Oberweis continues to lead by less than one percentage point in a far west suburban Congressional race that’s still too close to call as of this afternoon.
Oberweis is challenging Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood in the sprawling suburban 14th Congressional District, about an hour outside of Chicago. He currently leads by just 895 votes, or 0.2%.
“We’re out contacting the county clerks of all seven counties in the district and trying to make sure that we can lock down the votes,” Oberweis said on WBEZ’s Reset today. He stopped short of claiming victory.
Underwood did not issue a statement as of noon today, though she said late last night she remained optimistic that she’ll prevail.
Both campaigns have said absentee ballots are still being counted. Those ballots have so far trended in Underwood’s favor, according to the New York Times.
This morning, Republican Jeanne Ives released this statement in her unsuccessful race against incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Sean Casten:
“My campaign took up the cause of freedom, prosperity and peace. We gave voters a clear choice between my opponent who will raise taxes and grow government, and my belief that more taxes will solve nothing. The contrast was clear. And there is some solace in the defeat of the Progressive Income Tax, which I fought against as a state legislator. I have always believed that the people in this district deserve more determination over their lives than government has over their lives. This is the cause that brought me to this campaign, and sustained me for 18 months - through a global pandemic, shutdowns, riots and civil unrest.
“The pain of our defeat is far, far less than the pain of the restaurant owners I’ve met who have been forced to watch a lifetime of work and investment be destroyed by a handful of bureaucrats. Or the parents I talked to whose children are suffering after being shut out of the schools and the activities they love. Or the friends who have packed up their families - and moved away from Illinois and all its dysfunction, because it just didn’t make sense anymore.
“The serious issue before us today is the cause for which the Republican Party has stood in it’s finest hours: that is the cause of freedom, law and order and equality of opportunity. These noble ideals are vanishing under uninterrupted and unchallenged Democrat rule in Illinois.
“Most importantly, the issue that lies before all of us is the overwhelming might that we have handed government - whether intentionally or ignorantly. We have created a situation in which a handful of people can - literally - decide which businesses win and which lose; they can decide to educate your children - or not; they even can dictate which among us are essential and which are not.
“In this election, we ran against - not only Sean Casten - but members of both parties’ establishments, the media and other institutions that have protected entrenched interests for decades.
“My team fought hard, but in the end the power of the opposition was too great. It is somewhat unclear to me what lies ahead for Illinoisans.
“The foundation of the Republican Party has been freedom, smart government and equality under the law. My campaign believed in those principles and fought hard for them. We did not run from this struggle. Our party should welcome the contrast between our defense of liberty, diversity of thought, and peaceful discourse with the Democrats’ reckless spending, division and increasingly violent pursuit of a radical agenda.
“For me, this campaign is over.
“To those who supported us in this endeavor, thank you for staying the course and for sharing our hope for an ‘Illinois Reveille.’ Over 18 months, our team grew to 847 volunteers in the field, 25,043 individual donors across the United States (90.6% small dollar donors), and countless prayer warriors. I am deeply grateful for your enthusiasm and generosity. I hope it will be said of our campaign that we kept the faith to the end.”
The 6th District covers parts of Chicago’s northwest and western suburbs.
Democratic Illinois Supreme Court Justice Tom Kilbride conceded late Tuesday and will not get another 10-year term after falling short of the 60% support he needed to stay on the court.
Voters in 21 counties, including Will County and a swath of north-central Illinois stretching from Rock Island through Joliet gave the justice just 56% of their support, according to the Associated Press, with 98% of precincts reporting.
“Though votes continue to be counted, I am disappointed in the apparent outcome,” Kilbride said in a statement. “I want to thank the voters of the Third Judicial District for twice placing their faith in me to uphold the sacred principles that guide our judicial system. Serving on the Illinois Supreme Court has been the honor and privilege of my lifetime, and I am proud of the legacy I will leave behind, including a court that is more open, transparent and accessible to all, regardless of economic means.”
Kilbride had faced well-funded opposition from Republicans who objected to some of his past decisions and his ties to Illinois House Speaker and state Democratic Party chair Michael Madigan. And he was running in what has become a more Republican-dominated area, which was largely carried by President Donald Trump in 2016.
Kilbride’s defeat is rare for an incumbent injustice. Judicial retention campaigns like his have favored incumbents 19 times since 1970.
His defeat has larger potential implications for the historically Democratically-controlled Supreme Court. A second Supreme Court justice race to replace retiring Republican Justice Lloyd Karmeier appears to overwhelmingly favor Republican David Overstreet, giving the GOP the potential to overtake the court in two years when a race to replace Kilbride will occur.