Vote counting goes on in presidential race

  • by Lisa Keen
  • Wednesday November 4, 2020
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Marvin Dunson wore his most patriotic outfit to an election night street party on Valencia Street sponsored by Manny's Cafe. Photo: Rick Gerharter
Marvin Dunson wore his most patriotic outfit to an election night street party on Valencia Street sponsored by Manny's Cafe. Photo: Rick Gerharter

President Donald Trump made a shaky pitch early Wednesday morning that he should be declared the winner of the 2020 presidential election and that he would be "going to the U.S. Supreme Court" to make it so. But standing in the way of that plan are outstanding vote counts in Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Nevada.

All eyes are on those states, which likely will determine whether Republican Trump or Democrat Joe Biden achieves 270 electoral votes.

The Associated Press, Fox News, and the Arizona Republic newspaper declared Biden the winner in the Grand Canyon State, as of Wednesday morning. Biden has a slim lead in Nevada, where Democrats have won every presidential election since 2004. Wisconsin showed Biden with a lead. As of Wednesday morning, Biden opened up a lead in Michigan, as Politico reported that a significant number of votes need to be counted in Detroit's Wayne County, a Democratic stronghold.

CNN called Wisconsin and Michigan for Biden Wednesday.

In San Francisco, reaction to the presidential race was subdued.

Brandon Harami, a gay man who is the co-chair of SF Berniecrats, told the Bay Area Reporter Tuesday night, "It's terrifying."

"Biden may be able to pull through but it's so disappointing to see people vote for Trump after all of the people who've died during the pandemic," said Harami, who was attending an outdoor election night party for queer state Senate candidate Jackie Fielder, who lost to gay incumbent state Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco).

LGBTQ community wins and losses were also mixed in Tuesday's elections. Two newcomers won seats in the House of Representatives, but two incumbents are hanging onto their seats by threads as of Wednesday morning.

Democrats do not appear poised to take control of the U.S. Senate. While they did win two new seats (from Colorado and Arizona), they also lost one (Alabama). Senator Gary Peters (D-Michigan) was in a tight race and slightly trailing his Republican opponent Wednesday morning. While Democrats still have an opportunity to win another seat in a runoff, they likely will fall short of reaching a 51-seat majority.

The LGBTQ Victory Fund, which supported 312 openly LGBTQ candidates in Tuesday's election, has, thus far, registered 71 wins and 24 losses, and no results yet in 217 races.

Of the 15 openly LGBTQ people running for Congress Tuesday, it appears nine have won — seven of them incumbents. But one of those incumbents, first-term Congresswoman Angie Craig of Minnesota's 2nd District, had a mere 154-vote lead over her Republican challenger as of Wednesday morning.

Just days prior to the November 3 vote, Craig won an important victory at the U.S. Supreme Court. Her Republican opponent attempted to derail the voting by filing a legal action to delay the election until February. The request was based on the sudden death in September of a third party candidate — one who acknowledged, before his passing, that Republicans had recruited him to run as a strategy to defeat Craig. Under Minnesota law, if a "major party" candidate dies within 79 days of a November election, a special election must be held in February. Republicans went to court, arguing the vote had to be delayed, but the courts disagreed. And when Republicans appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court for an emergency order, Justice Neil Gorsuch denied their request.

In New York's 18th Congressional District, which includes northern suburbs of New York City, gay four-term Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney (D) appeared Wednesday morning to have held onto a 2-point lead over his Republican opponent.

Gay incumbent Congressman Chris Pappas (D) staved off a tough challenge in his bid for a second term representing New Hampshire's 1st Congressional District. Pappas' Republican opponent had attempted to play up Pappas' relationship with a male lobbyist for Amazon. Other Democratic LGBTQ incumbents — David Cicilline of Rhode Island, Sharice Davids of Kansas, Mark Pocan of Wisconsin, and Mark Takano of California — all easily won reelection.

The two brightest spots among the openly LGBTQ winners Tuesday had to be two black gay men in New York — Ritchie Torres and Mondaire Jones. Torres won 88% of the vote in his first bid for the Congressional seat representing the Bronx. Jones won by 14 points and will now represent southern New York.

"Most would have thought New York City's first LGBTQ member of Congress would be from Chelsea or Greenwich Village or Hell's Kitchen, but the Bronx beat them to it," said Victory Fund President Annise Parker. "As our nation attempts to tackle systemic racism, police reform, and health care disparities, Ritchie's lived experience as an out LGBTQ Afro-Latinx man will bring an essential perspective to Capitol Hill. Ritchie's election gives hope at a time when many Americans desperately need it. He will become a role model for LGBTQ youth in the Bronx and beyond."

Among the other six openly LGBTQ challengers seeking congressional seats Tuesday, all appear to have lost their bids, including Jon Hoadley in Michigan's 6th Congressional District, which includes Kalamazoo, and Gina Ortiz Jones in Texas' 23rd, which includes San Antonio. Many thought Ortiz Jones would win the seat from Texas this year. She came within fewer than 1,000 votes of winning the seat in 2018. But in 2020, she fell 12,000 votes behind her Republican opponent.

Other election news

Fort Lauderdale's gay incumbent Mayor Dean Trantalis handily won reelection Tuesday night.

Lesbian Alexsis Rodgers came in third in her bid to become mayor of Richmond, Virginia.

Transgender candidates did well: Sarah McBride (D) became the first transgender person to win a state Senate seat in Delaware, and Taylor Small (D) became the first openly transgender person elected to the Legislature in Vermont. Stephanie Byers (D) became the first openly transgender person to be elected to the Kansas state House and the first transgender person of color ever elected to a state legislature in the U.S. And Colorado incumbent state Representative Brianna Titone (D) appears to have won reelection to her seat, despite Republican efforts to paint her as a "radical" threat to "your wives and daughters."

Kim Jackson (D) won a state Senate seat in Georgia, becoming the first openly LGBTQ person to win a seat in that body and one of only three Black lesbians to win a state Senate seat anywhere in the U.S.

Shevrin Jones (D) won his race for the Florida state Senate, becoming the first openly LGBTQ person to win a seat in that body.

Jabari Brisport (D) became the first LGBTQ person of color to win a seat in the New York Legislature, running unopposed for a seat representing Brooklyn in the state Senate.

Tennessee elected its first two openly LGBTQ people to its state house: Democrat Torrey Harris, a bisexual from Memphis, and gay Republican Eddie Mannis of Knoxville.

In Cincinnati, lesbian Democrat Charmaine McGuffey has become the first openly LGBTQ person to be elected sheriff in Hamilton County, Ohio.

Helen Whitener won reelection to the Washington Supreme Court, handily defeating her opponent and becoming the first Black woman to be elected to the court and the second openly LGBTQ person.

Marko Liias lost his bid to become Washington state's lieutenant governor. And, Bryce Bennett appears to have lost his bid to become Montana secretary of state.

John Ferrannini contributed reporting.

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