Biden victory in Wisconsin moves him closer to 270 Electoral votes
Former Vice President Joe Biden came closer to winning the presidency Wednesday afternoon when he was declared the winner in Wisconsin with him leading in two of the five states that remain undecided.
A Biden victory in Michigan and Nevada, where he is ahead in the count, would give him an additional 22 Electoral College votes on top of the 248 he achieved with a victory in Wisconsin.
That would put him at the 270 electoral votes he needs to win, and place a president more friendly to direct aid to states and localities in the White House, among other ramifications.
President Trump remained ahead in the counting in the three other undecided states of Georgia, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. The Associated Press counted his electoral votes at 214.
The White House announced plans to contest the Wisconsin, and The AP reported that the Trump team also plans to contest the Pennsylvania recount. Other lawsuits may also be forthcoming.
Meanwhile, The AP also announced Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine had won her tightly fought race which Democrats had hope to win in order to gain majority control of the U.S. Senate.
The Collins victory dimmed — but did not extinguish — the possibility for Democrats winning the Senate, which Republicans currently control 53-47.
Democrats need to gain at least three Senate seats and to win the presidency for a 50-50 Senate in which Democrat Kamala Harris would have the deciding vote as vice president.
Alternatively, Democrats need a four-seat Senate gain under a second Trump term to wrest away the majority.
The uncertainty over Senate control remained after two Democratic pickups in Arizona and Colorado were offset by a Republican pickup in Alabama.
That’s because no winner was immediately declared in three Senate races involving vulnerable Republican incumbents in Alaska, Georgia and North Carolina.
A fourth race, also in Georgia, is headed for a Jan. 5 runoff because neither GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler nor Democrat Raphael Warnock, a Black pastor at the church where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. preached, received the 50% of the vote needed for victory.
Loeffler was appointed to the Georgia seat following the resignation of Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson and is running Isakson’s unexpired term.
In addition to Maine, Republican Senate candidates elsewhere held their party’s control in contested races in South Carolina, Iowa, Texas, Kansas and Montana.
And Republican Senate candidate John James remained in a race that was too close to call in Michigan against Democratic Sen. Gary Peters.
Trump and the Republican-controlled Senate have stood by the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act as a major achievement during Trump’s first term. The tax bill terminated tax-exempt advance refunding.
If Trump is re-elected, his administration would seek to make permanent expiring provisions of the TCJA and also cut the capital gain tax to 15% from the current 20%.
Achieving either of those goals would be difficult because Democrats are expected to keep majority control of the House.
Biden, on the other hand, has a tax plan that calls for reinstatement of the top individual income tax rate of 39.6% for households earning over $400,000. Municipal bond industry experts predict that change would result in an increase in individual investor demand for tax-exempt bonds.
Biden would presumably support the public finance measures already outlined by House Democrats in their stalled Moving America Forward Act infrastructure plan while President Trump has not weighed in on the specifics.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi said recently that Biden’s Build Back Better infrastructure plan has many elements that are similar to the House’s infrastructure legislation.
Reinstatement of tax-exempt advance refunding, creating a new series of direct-pay bonds, and increased limits for small borrowers to use bank-qualified bonds are among the muni-friendly tax provisions contained in this wide-reaching package of legislation that Senate Republicans have blocked from consideration.