Fox News Channel is defending its decision late Tuesday to call Arizona’s 11 electoral votes for Joe Biden amid criticism from President Donald Trump’s campaign that the decision was premature.
The network was the first and only news organization to declare a winner in Arizona and make it the first red-to-blue flip on the electoral map. But Trump campaign senior adviser Jason Miller soon responded, tweeting that Fox News “is a complete outlier in calling Arizona, and other media outlets should not follow suit.”
Miller said the campaign believed that about two-thirds of the votes outstanding that were cast on Tuesday will be for Trump. “There are still 1M+ Election Day votes out there waiting to be counted — we pushed our people to vote on Election Day, but now Fox News is trying to invalidate their votes!,” Miller wrote.
Republican National Committee spokesperson Liz Harrington was also blunt about the call, tweeting, “Retract AZ!”
But Fox News said just after midnight Eastern time that stood by the projection.
Arnon Mishkin, director of the Fox News Decision Desk, said the network was confident in its statistical model projecting Biden the winner. “We’re four standard deviations from being wrong,” Mishkin said. “And, I’m sorry, we’re not wrong in this particular case.”
Mishkin acknowledged that there are outstanding votes in Arizona but said that most are from areas where Biden is performing well.
He said that Fox believed that the universe of remaining votes was far smaller than the more than 1 million that Trump’s team claims and that, in any event, they project that Trump will only win about 44 percent of them.
Fox’s tally had Biden at 53 percent and Trump at 46 percent.
“I’m sorry, the president is not going to be able to take over and win enough votes to eliminate that seven point lead” that Biden has, Mishkin said.
Trump won Arizona in 2016 by a margin of 3.5 percent.
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