Having clearly heard from livid Trump campaign officials that there were still many uncounted votes that would be favorable for the president in areas like the Maricopa County suburbs of Phoenix, some of the network’s top personalities seemed to be barely stifling their own outrage.
Fox anchors brought on several of their behind-the-scenes data analysts on camera to justify the Arizona decision, which no other networks had made.
Yet, they were adamant that based on their available data and calculations of statistical confidence intervals, the odds of a Trump victory were minuscule and approaching impossible.
In a pep speech for his supporters, Biden rubbed salt into the network’s wounds by touting the fact that one of the networks (without naming Fox) had already called Arizona, giving him more early momentum on his path to 270 electoral votes.
Meanwhile, more liberal prognosticators seemed to gloat at their relative restraint, while still licking their own wounds following month of disastrously failed projections promising a Biden landslide.
— Zach Parkinson (@AZachParkinson) November 5, 2020
On Wednesday night, a new batch of ballots from absentee voters who had dropped off their ballots on the day of the election seemed to break in President Donald Trump’s favor, narrowing Biden’s lead further.
“Trump would have to win the remaining ballots … 59-41,” wrote . One silver lining for Biden, though: A fair number of those remaining 418,000 ballots are in Pima County, which is bluer then Maricopa.”
Even so, the momentum clearly seemed to be with the Trump campaign, and some criticized the fact that Fox and the AP had hesitated in other states with narrower margins that showed a Trump lead, such as Georgia and North Carolina.
The stubborn pride of @FoxNews even at this hour when everyone else realizes @realDonaldTrump could flip AZ is as irresponsible as @Twitter was vis-a-vis @NYPost. That @FoxNews decision desk is in essence refusing to report the NEWS!
— Hugh Hewitt (@hughhewitt) November 5, 2020
Trailing her Democrat opponent, former astronaut Mark Kelly, incumbent Sen. Martha McSally also criticized Fox for interfering in her race, which allowed Kelly to claim victory even as McSally has yet to concede.
McSally spokesperson Caroline Anderegg released a statement on Twitter saying it wasn’t over yet.
Full statement 👇🏻 pic.twitter.com/Sd2nKKwlLM
— Caroline Anderegg (@cfanderegg) November 4, 2020
Doing the math, Arizona’s state Republican officials tweeted out a call for Fox to retract its prediction on Wednesday night, as some feared Biden might use it as basis to declare victory if another state, such as neighboring Nevada, swung his way.
🚨 We’re calling on @FoxNews to retract its early and rash call that Biden has won AZ ⤵️
➡️ 600K votes outstanding
➡️ GOP edge in remaining returns
➡️ Other outlets haven’t made a call
— Arizona Republican Party (@AZGOP) November 4, 2020
While the odds still favored Biden in the state, Paul Bentz, a pollster with the consulting firm HighGround, expressed confidence in the trend bringing the final tally tighter.
Trump needed to procure 57.6% of the remaining uncounted ballots, reported AZCentral.com.
“That’s almost exactly what he got in the first batch,” Bentz said. “He could do it.”
Another data analysis firm, Data Orbital, went even farther in predicting a Trump victory.
But poll watchers would need to remain vigilant.
A scandal hit state election officials on Wednesday following reports that some ballots may have been rejected after precincts encouraged voters to mark them with Sharpie markers, which bled through to the other side.
Although Arizona’s Democrat secretary of state, Katie Hobbs, assured voters that the Sharpies would not disqualify the votes, a state legislator, Kelly Townsend, confirmed that it was being investigated, according to the National File.
HOLY S**T! @kelliwardaz, WHAT IS GOING ON!?!
GET REPUBLICANS THERE NOW!!!!
This is how we lose AZ! pic.twitter.com/FnDIwz8uvG
— Chief America 1st Trumpster (Maricopa Vote Vet) (@ChiefTrumpster) November 5, 2020
Betz likewise encouraged Trump’s campaign team to continue its fight “with every single batch, with every single ballot, with every single day,” to prevent Biden from running away with it in a war of attrition with public perception as one of its key battlegrounds.
“The first step in the long journey was a successful one in Trump’s tightrope walk,” he said.