Today's Paper Latest Coronavirus Elections Cooking 🔵 Covid Classroom Families Core values Story ideas iPad Weather Newsletters Obits Puzzles Archive
story.lead_photo.caption FILE - In this Jan. 13, 2020, file photo, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaks to reporters in Little Rock. ( AP/Andrew DeMillo, File )

Once the election results are certified, the lawsuits are settled and the electoral votes are cast, there's a good chance that Democrat Joe Biden will become the nation's 46th president, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Saturday.

"While we wait the outcome of various court challenges, it is important that we recognize the likelihood that former Vice President Biden and Sen. [Kamala] Harris have won over 270 electoral votes," he said in a written statement. "Even though the media has declared a winner, the selection of a President is a constitutional process that has not yet concluded."

"In the coming weeks, it will be necessary for former VP Biden to continue his preparation. As a nation, we should allow the process of preparation and court challenges to proceed with public patience and understanding," the state's top Republican said.

"I supported Donald Trump for President but I am an American first and I will support and work with the final decision of the voters," he said. "There is no doubt that in the world's greatest democracy we will be guided by the rule of law that has served our nation faithfully for more than 240 years."

While national news organizations have labeled Biden the president-elect, Trump allies in Arkansas insisted that the race has not been settled.

Doyle Webb, Republican National Committee general counsel and state party chairman, said there are still ballots to be tallied and litigation to pursue.

"Television networks may have reached a decision on this presidential election but it is our belief at the Republican National Committee that every legal vote must be counted," Webb said in a written statement.

"The political prognosticators said this was to be a nation-wide blowout, and that has not been the case; this is certainly not a mandate. We have seen the Republican Senate Majority hold onto seats they were projected to lose and we have won seats in the House of Representatives, which leads me to believe this race is not over until every recount and lawsuit are brought to their conclusions," he added.

In a text message, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee portrayed Saturday's announcement as irrelevant.

"News organizations don't decide elections. Voters do. Votes are still being counted," the Fox News analyst wrote.

Fox News, CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC and The Associated Press are among the outlets that called the race Saturday, citing Biden's lead in states with at least 273 electoral votes. It takes 270 to win a majority.

"The TV networks arrogantly project winners because they want to pretend they are all-knowing and they get to boast about being 'first to get it.' It's so they can self-promote and profit from it," Huckabee wrote.

News organizations waited four days before declaring a winner.

Pennsylvania's results, in their estimation, put Biden over the top.

At the time of the call, the former vice president also was leading narrowly in Arizona, Nevada and Georgia, while Trump remained ahead in North Carolina.

In a written statement, Arkansas Democratic Party Chairman Michael John Gray portrayed the outcome as unambiguous.

"Our nation has come together to choose a path of kindness, decency, and respect. This is a path that includes all Americans -- Democrats, Republicans, and independents. We have voted to take a stand against the ugliness that has plagued our country for far too long. People of all backgrounds and all walks of life faced this moment head-on, and chose to rise to the challenge," Gray said. "Our country now has a chance to heal, to come together, and to build toward a better future."

Former U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, a Little Rock Democrat who served with Biden, predicted that Biden will be "an outstanding president."

"He will govern as he has run this race -- trying to unify and heal our country. He has already begun reaching out to Republican Senators, Congressmen and Governors offering to work with them over the next 4 years," Pryor wrote in a text message.

"Hopefully President Trump will concede with grace and dignity and pave the way for a peaceful transfer of power," Pryor wrote, adding, "we should all pray for President-Elect Biden as he prepare[s] to take on this immense responsibility."

Voters, former U.S. Rep. Vic Snyder suggested, have delivered a mixed verdict at the ballot box.

"The vote count seems to be decisive in favor of VP Biden and Sen Harris, and I look forward to them leading our nation. But the Republicans had a very good election in the House, Senate, and state legislative races," the Little Rock Democrat wrote in a text message.

"I believe Joe Biden has the experience, temperament, and patriotism to know that both sides love our country. And he will endeavor to bring us together, as much as we are willing to be brought together, for the good of America," he wrote.

In a written statement, Republican U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford of Jonesboro criticized the decision to declare a winner, while also predicting a peaceful outcome.

"I don't remember when the authority to 'call' races was ever vested in the media, but that now appears to be the standard. It's unfortunate that so many in today's media prefer to be news makers rather than news reporters," he wrote.

"[W]hatever the official outcome of this race -- any irregularities that may have emerged and gone largely uninvestigated not withstanding -- I fully expect a peaceful transition at the appropriate time in keeping with the spirit of the best traditions of America," he added.

In a written statement, U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman of Hot Springs expressed confidence that a proper outcome would be achieved.

[RELATED: Full coverage of elections in Arkansas »]

"No race is over until votes are counted and certified by the state conducting the election. There are numerous disturbing reports of discrepancies and failure to follow state election laws. It is important to the future of our country that these claims be investigated to ensure we have integrity in our process and elections are conducted fairly and transparently," he said.

"We have a legal system that is experienced at investigating and resolving legal issues surrounding elections. I have faith that truth and justice will prevail but we must allow the process to progress," he added.

On Facebook Live, state Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Conway, portrayed Biden as a threat to the nation's soul.

"The Democrat Party has embraced godlessness, and it's a choice between good and evil, and I'm embarrassed that there's millions of people in our country that would support godlessness," Rapert said.

Noting that litigation is pending, he said: "This ain't over by a longshot."

The lieutenant governor candidate also encouraged listeners to visit his campaign website and make a donation, saying, "If you're with me, throw $1 in there, throw $5 in there."

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, national co-chairman of Lawyers for Trump, suggested that the battle would be shifting to the courts.

"President Trump has fought for Americans and now we must fight for him and the future of our country," she wrote on Twitter. "A legal fight will continue to ensure a free and fair election that all Americans can trust."

Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin, an observer during the 2000 Florida recount, stressed the importance of getting things right.

"It is important that Americans have confidence in the integrity, transparency and security of our elections and complaints about election fraud must be investigated and litigated if necessary," he wrote in a text message. "The election can only be final after all legal votes are counted and all complaints are resolved."

Former Democratic U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln said she was proud of Biden and Harris.

"I'm particularly pleased to see another glass ceiling broken for women," she said in a written statement.

Lincoln, who served with Biden before his election as vice president, predicted that Biden will "work across political lines to find our collective common ground."

"Joe Biden is among the most decent men I've ever known and he will do a great job reuniting a divided nation," she said.

"I have witnessed him successfully bridge challenging political divides with grace on numerous occasions," she said. "I believe grace is exactly what America and the world needs at this time and I look forward to watching him use his talent to the collective benefit of all Americans over the next four years."


Sponsor Content

COMMENTS - It looks like you're using Internet Explorer, which isn't compatible with the Democrat-Gazette commenting system. You can join the discussion by using another browser, like Firefox or Google Chrome.
It looks like you're using Microsoft Edge. The Democrat-Gazette commenting system is more compatible with Firefox and Google Chrome.