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2020

2020 Election Night Live Blog

Results, analysis …

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Welcome to one of our favorite traditions here at FITSNews, the election night live blog … a quick-hit, from-the-hip take on the various races we are watching as voters in South Carolina (and across the nation) render their judgments at the ballot box.

Given the deluge of early voting, the 2020 election is like nothing we have ever covered before … and we expect tracking results will be like nothing we have ever covered before, either.

Will we know who won the White House tonight? What about control of the U.S. Senate? Here in South Carolina, will we know the outcome of a hotly contested U.S. Senate race? Or the competitive first congressional district

Remember as you are reading to click that “refresh” button often so you can see the latest entries (which appear first in the feed below). And as always, if you want to be a part of the fun, send us your pics, vids, questions and comments. You can hit us up on our tip line, via emailFacebook or Twitter.

To the blog …

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THE LIVE BLOG …

(Via: Getty Images)

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2:10 a.m. EST – Nancy Mace defeats Joe Cunningham …

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1:04 a.m. EST – Nancy Mace Still Leading Joe Cunningham …

(Via: Nancy Mace for Congress)

With nearly ninety percent of the vote in the books, second-term state representative Nancy Mace of Daniel Island, S.C. has expanded her lead over Democratic incumbent Joe Cunningham in the race for the Palmetto State’s first congressional district.

NANCY MACE – 186,126 (52.4 percent)
JOE CUNNINGHAM – 169,019 (47.6 percent)

88 percent reporting

12:36 a.m. EST – Florida called for Trump …

U.S. president Donald Trump has defied the pundits and pollsters and captured Florida – winning the Sunshine State and its 29 electoral votes for a second time.

The results …

TRUMP – 5,644,988 (51.3 percent)
BIDEN – 5,267,642 (47.8 percent)
JORGENSEN – 69,520 (0.6 percent)

96 percent reporting

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12:09 a.m. EST – Fox News calls two states for Trump …

U.S. president Donald Trump has won Texas and the swing state of Ohio, according to Fox News …

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11:50 p.m. EST – The next race is already underway …

Well, well …

(Via: Provided)

Eat your heart out, Nikki Haley

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11:36 p.m. EST – Nancy Mace holds on to narrow lead …

With nearly eighty percent of the vote in the books, Republican Nancy Mace is clinging to a narrow lead over Democratic incumbent Joe Cunningham in the race for the Palmetto State’s first congressional district.

Again, this district is officially on upset alert …

NANCY MACE – 159,313 (50.8 percent)
JOE CUNNINGHAM – 154,473 (49.2 percent)

78 percent reporting

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11:32 p.m. EST – A tie?

It would be just like 2020 to pull something like this …

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10:50 p.m. EST – More state calls …

Still no surprises on the map, but Democrat Joe Biden has been declared the winner in California, New Hampshire, Oregon and Washington State while Donald Trump has added Utah and Idaho to his tally.

Current electoral count …

BIDEN 209
TRUMP 117

270 electoral votes needed to win

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10:50 p.m. EST – Uncertainty rules …

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10:36 p.m. EST – Jaime Harrison concedes …

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10:30 p.m. EST – Nancy Mace pulls ahead of Joe Cunningham …

With more than fifty percent of the vote in the books, Republican Nancy Mace has pulled ahead of incumbent Democrat Joe Cunningham in the race for the Palmetto State’s first congressional district.

Needless to say, this would be a huge upset if the numbers hold …

NANCY MACE – 110,026 (52.6 percent)
JOE CUNNINGHAM – 99,249 (47.4 percent)

52 percent reporting

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10:05 p.m. EST – Lindsey Graham wins fourth term …

We are calling the U.S. Senate race in South Carolina for Lindsey Graham

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9:40 p.m. EST – Trump Gaining Steam In North Carolina …

(Via: The White House)

After Democrat Joe Biden jumped out to a huge early lead in North Carolina, incumbent Republican Donald Trump is storming back – bringing this race within a half of a percentage point.

BIDEN – 2,463,052 (49.7 percent)
TRUMP – 2,438,804 (49.2 percent)
JORGENSEN – 40,226 (0.8 percent)

85 percent reporting

9:34 p.m. EST – Nancy Mace surges …

(Via: NancyMace.org)

With nearly 30 percent of the votes counted, GOP challenger Nancy Mace has made up significant ground in her bid to upset incumbent Democratic U.S. congressman Joe Cunningham.

The latest …

JOE CUNNINGHAM – 56,131 (50.3 percent)
NANCY MACE – 55,376 (49.7 percent)

30 percent reporting

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9:25 p.m. EST – More states called …

Again, none of these calls are going to shock anyone, but Democrat Joe Biden has been declared the winner in New York and New Mexico while Donald Trump has prevailed in Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.

Current electoral count …

BIDEN 119
TRUMP 91

270 electoral votes needed to win

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9:11 p.m. EST – Lindsey Graham’s lead is growing …

With nearly a third of ballots in the books, U.S. senator Lindsey Graham is extending his lead over Democrat Jaime Harrison

LINDSEY GRAHAM – 333,639 (55.3 percent)
JAIME HARRISON – 261,568 (43.4 percent)
BILL BLEDSOE – 7,972 (1.3 percent)

30 percent reporting

9:00 p.m. EST – Getting out the vote …

Our founding editor Will Folks took his elder daughter with him to vote this morning at his precinct in the northwestern Columbia, S.C. region. It was a brisk 34 degrees when they began their one-and-a-half hour wait, but the line moved quickly and everyone waiting in it was incredibly kind.

One voter even offered to take this picture …

(Via: Provided)

8:53 p.m. EST – Updated Joe Cunningham/ Nancy Mace results …

With a new batch of votes in, U.S. congressman Joe Cunningham is still up big on his GOP challenger Nancy Mace – although the margin is closing.

JOE CUNNINGHAM – 43,726 (55.1 percent)
NANCY MACE – 35,695 (44.9 percent)

20 percent reporting

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8:49 p.m. EST – Updated Lindsey Graham/ Jaime Harrison results …

With a new batch of votes in, U.S. senator Lindsey Graham has opened up a lead on Democrat Jaime Harrison.

It’s still early, but this race is now tracking with our pre-election prediction …

LINDSEY GRAHAM – 168,496 (51.1 percent)
JAIME HARRISON – 157,111 (47.7 percent)
BILL BLEDSOE – 3,954 (1.2 percent)

15 percent reporting

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8:33 p.m. EST – North Carolina …

(Via: Getty Images)

The Tar Heel State just dropped a ton of ballots – as many as 65 percent of those likely to be cast this election, according to the Associated Press.

So far, Democrat Joe Biden has a big edge …

BIDEN – 2,022,572 (53.3 percent)
TRUMP – 1,728,396 (45.6 percent)
JORGENSEN – 28,882 (0.8 percent)

65 percent reporting

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8:20 p.m. EST – Updated Lindsey Graham/ Jaime Harrison results …

U.S. senator Lindsey Graham is trailing Democrat Jaime Harrison badly with the first seven percent of the vote in the books …

Still very, very early …

JAIME HARRISON – 96,218 (53.7 percent)
LINDSEY GRAHAM – 81,253 (45.3 percent)
BILL BLEDSOE – 1,823 (1 percent)

7 percent reporting

8:15 p.m. EST – Multiple states called …

None of these calls are even remotely surprising, but Democrat Joe Biden has been declared the winner in Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Meanwhile Donald Trump has prevailed in Alabama, Mississippi and Oklahoma.

Current electoral count …

BIDEN 85
TRUMP 44

270 electoral votes needed to win.

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8:06 p.m. EST – South Carolina first district early returns …

(Via: Joe Cunningham for Congress)

With the first ten percent of the vote in the books, incumbent Democrat Joe Cunningham has a commanding lead over GOP challenger Nancy Mace.

Take a look …

JOE CUNNINGHAM – 24,895 (60.9 percent)
NANCY MACE – 15,989 (39.1 percent)

10 percent reporting

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7:59 p.m. EST – Donald Trump wins South Carolina …

(Via: The White House)

U.S. president Donald Trump has defeated Democrat Joe Biden in South Carolina, capturing the Palmetto State’s nine electoral votes …

Updated electoral count …

TRUMP 22
BIDEN 16

270 electoral votes needed to win.

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7:47 p.m. EST – Florida …

(Via: Getty Images)

One of the most pivotal swing states on the map, Florida dropped all of its nearly 9 million early ballots at once, and is now reporting precinct results.

The race for these 29 electoral votes is TIGHT …

BIDEN – 4,765,635 (49.9 percent)
TRUMP – 4,705,149 (49.7 percent)
JORGENSEN – 54,027 (0.6 percent)

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7:40 p.m. EST – Virginia calls …

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has captured Virginia and its thirteen electoral votes.

Virginia is also home to the first called U.S. Senate race of the evening: Incumbent Democrat Mark Warner has won a third term in Washington, D.C., according to mainstream media projections.

Updated electoral count …

TRUMP 13
BIDEN 16

270 electoral votes needed to win.

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7:34 p.m. EST – Another state called …

Donald Trump has captured West Virginia and its five electoral votes …

Updated electoral count …

TRUMP 13
BIDEN 3

270 electoral votes needed to win.

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7:28 p.m. EST – First Lindsey Graham/ Jaime Harrison results …

Don’t take this to the bank, but U.S. senator Lindsey Graham is up big on Jaime Harrison based on the first few precincts reporting …

LINDSEY GRAHAM – 5,704 (70.7 percent)
JAIME HARRISON – 1,959 (24.3 percent)

BILL BLEDSOE – 406 (5 percent)

1 percent reporting

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7:20 p.m. EST – ‘The Oracle’ has spoken …

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7:17 p.m. EST – Update on Dorchester county ballot snafu …

Our Mandy Matney has filed a report on that Dorchester ballot problem we mentioned earlier …

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7:12 p.m. EST – First states called …

(Via: Getty Images)

Well, that was fast. As soon as polls closed, mainstream outlets called the state of Kentucky for Donald Trump and Vermont for Joe Biden.

No surprises, obviously, but … a bit early?

Anyway, current called electoral count …

TRUMP 8
BIDEN 3

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7:00 p.m. EST – Polls are closed …

Polls are officially closed in South Carolina, which means we should start seeing the first results beginning to trickle in soon …

Again, though, remember to stay in line.

If you arrived at your polling place and were in line at 7:00 p.m., you still get to vote …

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6:45 p.m. EST – Dorchester county mail-in ballot debacle …

So get this …

As many 14,000 mail-in absentee ballots in Dorchester county, South Carolina will not be counted this evening.

What gives? According to our sources, a “barcode error” has occurred on these ballots, which will force the vendor to come to Dorchester county in the morning to “remedy the issue and run the ballots.”

Wow …

Obviously this development could have implications on the South Carolina first congressional district race between Nancy Mace and Joe Cunningham as well as the S.C. Senate race between vulnerable incumbent Sandy Senn and her challenger, Democrat Sam Skardon.

The issue will also impact the race for S.C. House District 114 (.pdf) between Lin Bennett and Democrat Ed Sutton.

Our news director Mandy Matney is working this story …

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6:35 p.m. EST – Pizza break …

Thank you, Mellow Mushroom. And you too, Grub Hub.

(Via: FITSNews)

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6:19 p.m. EST – Not so “yuge?”

(Via: The White House)

U.S. president Donald Trump won South Carolina by 14.2 percent in 2016 – drawing 54.94 percent of the vote to Hillary Clinton’s 40.67 percent.

What sort of victory margin will he get in the Palmetto State in 2020?

We expect Trump to carry South Carolina by at least nine percentage points, but according to a source familiar with survey data from a credible establishment GOP pollster, his margin of victory could be much slimmer.

The incumbent president is only leading Democratic nominee Joe Biden by five percentage points in the latest survey by this establishment pollster – with four percent of voters undecided.

Of interest? This 5 percent margin has been consistent through the month of October in this survey, we are told.

If that number is accurate, Trump is toast nationally …

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6:06 p.m. EST Henry McMaster finally found a taker …

Looks like South Carolina governor Henry McMaster – who is not on the ballot this evening – finally found a candidate for elected office this year who actually wanted his help.

To read our piece detailing McMaster’s “vanishing act” during the 2020 election cycle, click here …

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6:02 p.m. EST – More Cahaly …

Speaking of Robert Cahaly, here is a feature story on him that was published in yesterday’s editions of The New York Times.

A key excerpt …

In 2016, its first time publicly releasing polls, Trafalgar was the firm whose state surveys most effectively presaged Mr. Trump’s upset win. A veteran Republican strategist, Mr. Cahaly even called the exact number of Electoral College votes that Mr. Trump and Hillary Clinton would receive — 306 to 227 — although his prediction of which states would get them there was just slightly off.

As we have frequently pointed out, Cahaly has continued to hit the nail on the head in subsequent elections – including the 2018 GOP gubernatorial primary in South Carolina and the 2020 Democratic “First in the South” presidential primary.

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5:53 p.m. EST – Swing State Watch …

The big question we are waiting to have answered this evening is this: Which way will the swing states swing?

Earlier today, we took one last look at the latest battleground state polling from Robert Cahaly of the Atlanta, Georgia-based Trafalgar Group. Cahaly, of course, is the lone pollster projecting a Trump victory this evening. And one of the only pollsters who got it right in 2016.

To read our article on those survey results, click here.

Derek Thompson of The Atlantic summed up the situation as follows …

If the polls are right, and Joe Biden wins the states where he’s favored, tonight could bring the most resounding defeat of an incumbent president since Herbert Hoover lost to Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932. If the polls are wrong, and Biden concedes to President Donald Trump early tomorrow morning, it would mark the most catastrophic polling disaster in modern history. If the race is close, and no clear winner emerges by midday tomorrow, it might trigger a protracted legal battle and constitutional crisis that could send the national election to the Supreme Court for the second time in as many decades.

Hard to argue with that …

5:45 p.m. EST – Finger Condoms?

5:33 p.m. EST – Turnout talk …

With a record-shattering 1.32 million South Carolinians voting early – including 433,000 by mail and another 891,000 in-person – you would think turnout across the state on election day would be lighter than usual.

Apparently not, though …

According to our sources, turnout across the Palmetto State has been “steady” on election day – especially in the Upstate, where Republican candidates tend to fare better.

We are also told counties that failed to open satellite voting offices to accommodate the surge in early voting saw higher election day turnout.

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5:26 p.m. EST – Stay in line …

As we inch closer to the closing of polls in the Palmetto State, here is your obligatory reminder to “stay in line” even if it looks like you aren’t going to make it to the touchscreen in time.

Just because polls close at 7:00 p.m. EST doesn’t mean you are going to get the door slammed in your face (or the machine turned off as you try to vote) the moment the hour chimes.

If you are in line at 7:00 p.m., you still get to vote …

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5:21 p.m. EST – Early Voting Update …

A staggering 101,167,740 ballots were cast prior to the polls opening on Tuesday, according to the latest data from the U.S. Elections Project.

That’s an astounding 73.4 percent of the total 2016 vote.

To view the latest early voting data for yourself, click the map below …

(Via: U.S. Election Project)

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5:10 p.m. EST – U.S. Senate Prediction …

In case you missed it, our founding editor’s official prediction for the U.S. Senate race in South Carolina is as follows …

LINDSEY GRAHAM – 50.2 percent
JAIME HARRISON – 46.6 percent
BILL BLEDSOE/ WRITE-IN – 3.2 percent

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5:01 p.m. EST – “Democrats for Trump …”

South Carolina state senator Katrina Shealy sent us a funny picture of a homemade sign someone placed on her property in Red Bank, S.C. this week.

Shealy – a staunch Republican and supporter of U.S. president Donald Trump – has several donkeys on her property.

Who are they backing in the current presidential election?

(Click to view)

(Via: Provided)

Shealy is on the ballot Tuesday evening, seeking a third, four-year term representing the people of S.C. Senate District 23 (.pdf).

Which reminds us, we hope to have another humorous anecdote to post from her race later this evening …

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4:53 p.m. EST – “Is this who we want to be?”

(Via: Getty Images)

Earlier today one of our favorite readers forwarded us a column published in The Detroit Free-Press by Mitch Albom. One of the best pieces of writing we have seen in some time, Albom laments the current polarization of perspective in our nation – and its myriad sources.

Albom goes after the mainstream media …

The partisanship of the news has never been worse. Subtlety is a memory. Asking for balance brings an eye roll, as if asking an adult to finger paint.

He assails politicians …

Nancy Pelosi called the president “morbidly obese” and said he’s like a kid “with doggy doo on his shoes.” Chuck Schumer threatened Supreme Court justices, saying, “You won’t know what hit you.” Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono, instead of casting a simple “nay” vote on Justice Amy Coney Barrett, marched to the table and declared, “Hell, no.” And for adopting two kids from impoverished Haiti, Barrett was likened to a “white colonizer” and her kids as “props” by a celebrated author and professor.

But he also blames … us

The fact is, we’ve gotten quite used to behaving badly. To rude and self-righteous postures. So when do we stop?

When, indeed …

-FITSNews

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