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President Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden on Tuesday night spun competing narratives as there is still no clear result in the presidential election, with each candidate notching wins in a handful of key swing states, the Fox News Decision Desk projected.
Trump, for his part, is projected to take Texas, Florida, Iowa and Ohio, while Biden is projected to win in Arizona and Minnesota.
Michigan and Wisconsin have yet to be called while it appears full results in Pennsylvania will not come in until Wednesday or even later, after a contentious campaign that was rocked by the coronavirus pandemic.
"Your patience is commendable. We knew this was gonna go long … maybe tomorrow morning maybe even longer," Biden told supporters at a drive-in rally. "We feel good about where we are."
Biden added: "I'm optimistic about this outcome … Your patience is great."
But Trump called Tuesday night "A big WIN!" and added in a subsequent tweet: "We are up BIG, but they are trying to STEAL the Election. We will never let them do it. Votes cannot be cast after the Polls are closed!"
Twitter flagged that second tweet, saying it is "disputed and might be misleading."
While polls are now closed nationwide, many votes in some states, particularly Pennsylvania, remain to be counted — not cast — as the labor-intensive process of counting mail ballots is set to continue into Wednesday and potentially longer.
A razor-thin presidential race could spur after-the-buzzer litigation over votes and some are speculating could lead to a repeat of the 2000 presidential race when the Supreme Court essentially decided the outcome of the election.
Meanwhile, protests outside of the White House at Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, D.C., remain tense as the country awaits clearer presidential election results.
All polls in the United States are closed as of 1 a.m. E.T., and as the hour gets late the result of the presidential election is far from certain. But Trump and Biden are still both approaching 270 electoral votes as more and more states are called.
Races are too early to call in battleground states including Nevada, Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia and North Carolina. And in the all-important battleground Pennsylvania, there are still vast swaths of votes yet to be counted, indicating that there may not be a discernable result in that state on Tuesday evening.
The race will come down to those states and a handful of others as each candidate hopes he will have 270 electoral votes, the number necessary to win the presidency, by the time the results are final.
The Florida win for Trump was considered necessary for him to reach 270 electoral votes while the win for Biden in Arizona makes his path to 270 much clearer — and the path for Trump significantly more difficult.
Ohio, Georgia and North Carolina are considered to be some of the other critical states to Trump's path to victory. Meanwhile, states like Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan are among the most important to Biden.
Pennsylvania's meaty 20 electoral votes — which may not be decided for days due to the time-consuming process of counting an unprecedented volume of mail-in votes — are considered by many to be the votes that could put either Trump or Biden over the top.
The Fox News Decision Desk projects that Biden will win Virginia; Vermont; Washington, D.C.; Delaware; Rhode Island; Connecticut; Illinois; Maryland; New Jersey; New York; Colorado; New Hampshire; California; Oregon; Washington state; Arizona; New Mexico; Hawaii; Minnesota; one of Nebraska's five electoral votes and at least three of Maine's four electoral votes. That represents a total of 238 electoral votes.
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The Fox News Decision Desk also projects that Trump will win Kentucky; West Virginia; Alabama; Mississippi; Tennessee; Missouri; Arkansas Indiana; Kansas; Louisiana; Oklahoma; Wyoming; North Dakota; South Dakota; South Carolina; Utah; Idaho; Florida; Ohio; Texas; Iowa; Montana; and at least four of Nebraska's five electoral votes. That represents a total of 213 electoral votes.
Election Day Tuesday marks the end of a presidential race where Americans — who have cast more early and mail ballots this year than in any past election — had their say on whether to give Trump a second term or go a different direction with Biden.
The year 2020 was highly unusual. There was an impeachment trial, an ongoing pandemic, racial protests and riots. The president was diagnosed with the coronavirus and a presidential debate was canceled because Trump refused to participate in a virtual affair after his diagnosis.
But despite all of that, votes are being counted Tuesday night into Wednesday morning – and perhaps a little later – as Americans elect a president as they have every four years since 1788.
"A vote for me and the Republican Party is a vote for the American Dream!" Trump said in a Monday night tweet as he made his final pitch to voters. "Over the next four years, we will make America into the Manufacturing Superpower of the World, and we will end our reliance on China once and for all."
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"We can overcome these crises. We can take our country back. We can win the battle for the soul of the nation," Biden said in a Tuesday tweet.
It is not clear, however, that there will be an obvious winner of the election on Tuesday night or even by early Wednesday because many states are likely to take longer than usual to count their mail-in and absentee ballots. Those ballots are more labor-intensive to count than standard ballots that voters cast in person.
Some states, including Pennsylvania and North Carolina, also will accept ballots that are mailed by Election Day but arrive days later. In Pennsylvania, that period lasts three days while in North Carolina it lasts nine.
Therefore, if races are close in major swing states, and a significant portion of the vote remains uncounted, it could be days or even longer until there is a clear result from the election.
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Nevertheless, Tuesday night is providing a window into several important issues that could tip the race one way or another: Election Day turnout; vote breakdowns in key counties in swing states; how independents are voting, and more.
In addition to the presidential race, which is directing attention to battleground states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, Nevada, Arizona, North Carolina and more, the battle for the Senate remains up in the air as well.
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Close races in states like Iowa, Maine and others could decide whether Republicans, who are largely on defense this election cycle, will hold onto their majority, or if Democrats can take back the chamber.
The makeup of the Senate will be key in how much either Trump or Biden will be able to advance their agendas if elected, especially as the House of Representatives is likely to remain in Democratic hands.
The Fox News Decision Desk has called the Senate race in Kentucky between Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and well-funded Democratic challenger Amy McGrath in favor of McConnell, representing the first major hold of the night for Republicans. The Fox News Decision Desk also projects that Sen. Lindsey Graham, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, will hold on in his expensive race against challenger Jaime Harrison, and Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, will hold on in her similarly expensive race against Theresa Greenfield.
Republicans flipped one Senate seat in Alabama, with challenger Tommy Tuberville beating incumbent Democrat Doug Jones, the Fox News Decision Desk projects.
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But the Fox News Decision Desk also projects that former Democrat Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado will beat incumbent Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., in a major flip for Democrats. Democrat challenger Mark Kelly will also unseat Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz.
The Fox News Decision Desk has projected that Democrats will retain control of the majority in the House of Representatives.
Over the coming hours and days, Americans and the world will find out whether voters chose to continue with the vision of Trump and the Republican Party, or if they chose a new direction with Biden and Democrats.
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