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Trump's legal team readies new Pa. challenges


A daily newsletter by Spotlight PA
Your Postmaster: Jordan Wolman
November 6, 2020
Trump's legal war, down-ballot blues, 'no misdoing', oh shoot wrong Four Seasons!, and a classic Zoom moment. Welcome back to Monday.

So this is the end of the election, right? Not quite.

Despite President-Elect Joe Biden declaring victory last week, and his lead in Pennsylvania growing to 42,539 votes as of Sunday evening, President Donald Trump and his supporters are not conceding anything.

Trump loyalists rallied at state Capitols throughout the country, including Harrisburg, where armed militia members faced off against jubilant Biden backers over the weekend. And then there are the lawsuits.

Trump's legal team, led by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, is promising a volley of new lawsuits in swing states this week. And there is a case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court over late-arriving ballots.

Amid it all, however, there has so far been no indication that any of the challenges — if proven to have merit — involve enough votes to change the outcome of the election.

THE CONTEXT: There are still a number of ballots that need to be processed and counted.

County election officials worked throughout the weekend to process upwards of 100,000 provisional ballots — those cast when a voter's eligibility is somehow in question. These are time-consuming ballots to begin with, and the number spiked this year because of the expansion of mail voting.

According to the Department of State, there were still another 54,000 mail ballots to be counted as well. County election officials owe results to the state by Nov. 23.

Some of the legal challenges have already been resolved. A suit brought by Republican candidates and voters asking for so-called "cured" ballots to be set aside. Instead, as Spotlight PA reported, a Commonwealth Court judge said these votes could be counted if they are found to be eligible through the normal process counties use to verify provisional ballots.

Looming is a possible intervention by the U.S. Supreme Court to throw out a state Supreme Court ruling that allowed counties to accept and count mail ballots that were sent by Election Day and arrived by 8 p.m. Friday. SCOTUSblog breaks down the possibility the high court will take on the issue, though, again, it's unlikely the number of votes in question would affect the election's outcome.

And finally, there's the possibility of a recount. While the current margin of Biden's win over Trump is too high to trigger an automatic recount, one could still be requested. And it seems certain Republicans will push for one.


"All of the uncertainty that was pointed out before the election continues today and may continue until the last votes are counted."

— Berwood Yost, of Franklin & Marshall College, on the tight race in Northampton County, which has been a bellwether for state and national political trends

POST IT: Thank you, Lauri R., for this shot of Canoe Creek State Park near Hollidaysburg. Send us your hidden gems, use the hashtag #PAGems, or tag us on Instagram at @spotlightpennsylvania.
DOWN-BALLOT BLUES: It was supposed to be a historic year for Pennsylvania Democrats, riding on the coattails of Joe Biden. Instead, Spotlight PA reports, it was a smashing victory for Republicans, who held on to control of the legislature, won new seats, and won at least one row office. So what happened?

NO 'MISDOING': As Trump continues to dispute the outcome of the election, one of the state legislature's top Republicans said he had no "evidence of misdoing." Still, Spotlight PA reports, Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman claimed half of Pennsylvania will not have faith in the results because of actions taken by the Wolf administration. (Does that mean they also don't have faith in the GOP's big wins across the state?)

WILL OF THE PEOPLE: During the same press conference, Corman said the GOP majority wanted to "stay with the tradition of the popular vote winner getting the electors," KDKA reports. An Atlantic article previously raised concerns Republicans would try to bypass the popular vote if the outcome of the election was unclear.

EMOTIONAL EULOGY: Walter Wallace Jr., whose death at the hands of police officers sparked unrest throughout Philadelphia, was eulogized at his funeral over the weekend, WHYY reports. “They really took him from me!” exclaimed Dominique, Wallace's widow.

A NEW HIGH: Yet again, Pennsylvania set a record for new confirmed COVID-19 cases Saturday. Hospitalizations are also rising sharply. New deaths, which tend to lag behind cases and hospitalizations, have also begun to rise, according to our rolling 7-day average. Follow our tracker or get weekly alerts for your county.
» FIGHT BACK AGAINST PARTISAN BLUSTER: Support Spotlight PA's independent journalism today and your contribution will be TRIPLED.

Thank you to everyone who had their gifts TRIPLED in the last few days: Kathleen B., Aaron H., Chris B., Barbara L., Barbara S., Christina M., Margaret D., Joe M., Thomas S., Mary K., Barbara C., Maria N., Gary R., Karen W., Francisco C., Jerrell H., Liza Jane B., Lance L., April G., Kay W., Robert D., Theo G., Maggie E., Ellie P., Carol S., Richard H., Patricia M., MaryEllen T., Georgina R., Shirley P., Stan W., Chad E., Erin M., Stacy R., Jodi A., Ian K., Patrick S., Brett C., Anne G., George T., Jeannette C., Deric L., Michael S., Frank R., Denise R., Kathleen W., Arlene M., Timothy L., David S., Darrin S., F. Vodde, Carl & Janet S., and Edwin R.
NO, NOT THAT FOUR SEASONS: Trump campaign lawyer Rudy Giuliani wasn't at the hotel, bur rather outside Four Seasons Total Landscaping in Northeast Philadelphia — near Fantasy Island Adult Books and Novelties and the Delaware Valley Cremation Center. Many reporters are trying to figure out how this Veep-worthy moment came together.

PENNSYLVANIA 101: People across the U.S. have learned a heck of a lot about our state recently (Gritty is good, John Fetterman is tall, spotted lanternflies are bad). A weary nation now asks: What do we do with all of this Pennsylvania information?

WE CAN RELATE: Now that most of us are living in a Zoom reality, you can probably relate to Attorney General Josh Shapiro's son, who was awkwardly caught on camera backing away from one of his dad's TV interviews

RIP TO A LEGEND: The world has lost legendary "Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek, who died at 80 after being diagnosed with cancer. We'll always remember him as the man who moderated Pennsylvania's only gubernatorial debate in 2018.

HOLIDAY CHEER: We haven't yet reached Thanksgiving, but Pittsburgh has already announced the details of the city's annual gingerbread house competition. While the event will be virtual this year, participants will still be able to join the fun by submitting photos of their creations and voting for a winner to be announced in early January. 
Unscramble and send your answer to scrambler@spotlightpa.org. We'll shout out the winners here, and one each week will get some Spotlight PA swag. If you love the scrambler, make a donation and we'll TRIPLE it.

Friday's answer: Adolescence 

Congrats to our weekly winner: Mary Ellen T.

Congrats to Friday's winners: Craig W., Susan D., Chip K., Theodore W., David I., Deb N., Edward M., Steve D., Kim C., Joel S., Ron P., Thomas B., John C., George S., Craig E., Dianne K., Lynne E., Anne R., Jeffrey S., Irene R., Carol D., and Beth T.
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