President Donald Trump’s campaign has aggressively pushed back at two major media outlets calling Arizona for former Vice President Joe Biden. They say it’s too early to tell because so many votes are outstanding.
Fox News and the Associated Press have not pulled their calls despite the criticisms. Joe Biden’s campaign maintains he’s going to win Arizona because of votes remaining in blue areas. However, what percentage of the outstanding votes would Trump need to win Arizona, especially in populous Maricopa County?
AZCentral.com reported on November 4, in a story updated on November 5, that, according to Republican pollster Paul Bentz, Trump needs to win 57.6% of the 470,000 votes that were still outstanding in Arizona to win the state.
According to the newspaper, when Maricopa County, Arizona, released the results of 140,000 more ballots on the evening of November 4 and morning of November 5, Trump received about that percentage of the ballots. As a result, Biden still led in Arizona, but by a lesser amount – 68,000.
On Twitter, Trump campaign official Jason Miller has given the percentage needed at 57.73%.
Tim Murtaugh, Communications director for Trump, gave essentially the same percentage.
He wrote on Twitter that Trump “got over 59% of this first small AZ vote dump, above the 57% pace he needs to surpass Biden & win Arizona. Fox & AP made a hasty call in AZ, a state the President will still win. 5 of 7 election decision orgs haven’t called AZ. Fox & AP should rescind theirs.”
Here’s what you need to know:
Whether Trump Can Win Arizona Remained Unclear
Nate Cohn, who covers elections and polling for The New York Times’ Upshot page, wrote on Twitter that there are too many unknowns to say whether Trump can still pull it off.
“Arizona: It’s still a mess here. Last night’s ballots were good for Trump, but there just isn’t as much precision in our understanding of what’s left as there is in the other states. I’d still think Biden’s the favorite, but you can’t call this one without more data than we have,” he wrote on Twitter on the morning of November 5.
“One key piece of info in AZ: do we have late ballots that arrived in the mail, those dropped off on Election Day, or both? The latter seems like it will be better for Biden.”
On November 4, Cohn wrote, “Tonight’s vote dump in Maricopa was Trump+18, which confirms that the state’s going to get a lot tighter. It’s not very easy to say whether that’s enough for Trump or not, but I’d think it’s more than enough to preclude an Arizona call tonight.”
According to AZCentral, some of the remaining ballots are coming from blue areas, so the challenge for Trump is to keep that percentage going even in Democratic areas like parts of Pima, Coconino and Santa Cruz counties. In addition, the site reported, Trump would have to maintain that percentage even with ballot types that historically favor Democrats, like provisional ballots, of which there remains 36,000 outstanding in Maricopa and Pima counties alone.
Trump Campaign Officials Indicated Optimism About Arizona
Trump campaign officials have been expressing optimism about Arizona on Twitter and anger over the early call by Fox News and the Associated Press.
“Vote method matters in addition to vote geography. Some of our best gains have come from Election Day voters in blue municipalities,” campaign strategist for Trump, Jason Miller, wrote on Twitter.
He claimed, “President Trump is on pace to win Arizona.”