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Vermonters watch national election from afar

As Vermonters watched statewide and local races with relative calm and largely expected results on Tuesday evening, on Wednesday their attention — as for all Americans — remained intently focused on the presidential and U.S. Senate races, with a few battleground states still too close to call to determine the outcome.
The closeness of the presidential race and a heavy Republican turnout in favor of their candidates across the country represented a repudiation of most pre-election polling over the past two months that had indicated a likely “blue wave” that would have given Democrats a majority in the U.S. Senate and led former Vice President Joseph Biden Jr. to a potential landslide. 
Rather, Republicans gained a handful of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and appeared poised to retaining majority control of the U.S. Senate. Democrats picked up two U.S. Senate seats (Arizona and Colorado) and Republicans had flipped one (Alabama) on Tuesday, but as of late Wednesday afternoon, winners had still not been determined in a few Senate races.
At the top of the ticket, President Donald Trump’s vote tally surged to within a whisker of winning re-election.
Biden appeared to have the edge in pulling out a slim victory. Biden could reach the 270 votes needed to win the Electoral College by winning Michigan, Wisconsin, Nevada and Arizona. Meanwhile, Trump needed to win Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia and Wisconsin, in order to surpass the 270-vote threshold to capture the Electoral College.
With almost 100% of the votes counted in Wisconsin, Biden on Wednesday maintained a lead of about 20,000 votes out of 3.2 million cast. Trump has already said he would ask for a recount in Wisconsin, which means the final outcome of the race might not be known for several more days.
Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia and North Carolina were also very tight contests, with Trump holding on to diminishing leads in Georgia, with enough mail-in ballots from the heavily Democratic Atlanta area still to be counted to determine the race if a high enough percentage swung to Biden. 
The same was true in Pennsylvania, where Trump held a lead that is being diminished by heavy mail-in ballots in urban areas that seemed to have voted more heavily for Biden. There remained enough uncounted ballots from these urban areas to swing the decision  in favor of Biden if he were to win about 75% of them — a margin he demonstrated in similar states. 
As of 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Biden had 227 electoral votes to Trump’s 213. Biden could reach exactly 270 votes by winning Wisconsin (10 votes), Michigan (16), Nevada (6) and Arizona (11). If Biden were to win Pennsylvania (20), he would have 290 electoral college votes. Biden had an outside chance of also winning Georgia (16), which would put Biden at 306.
If Trump were to win Georgia, Alaska (3), North Carolina (15), plus Pennsylvania, he would end up with 268. He would need to contest Wisconsin’s count, then win in the recount, in order to win the Electoral College; or he could also come from behind current tabulations to win Arizona and Nevada, though both states late Wednesday were leaning in favor of Biden. 
Biden held a lead in the national popular vote by about 3 million ballots as of early Wednesday afternoon. That’s about the same margin that Hillary Clinton beat Trump in 2016, though he lost the election in the Electoral College.  

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