ALBANY — The presidential election was a “blow-out” in support of Democratic former Vice President Joe Biden, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday, encouraging unity among Americans as mail-in ballots start to be counted across New York.
Biden was on the cusp of victory Friday with a projected 253 electoral votes to President Donald Trump’s 214, with strong leads in battleground states Pennsylvania, Nevada and Georgia. The former vice president stood just shy of the White House on Friday after pulling ahead in Pennsylvania and Georgia, two hard-fought states that offer the electoral votes he needs to cap his decades-long quest to be president.
“You count the votes, Joe Biden is going to be president of the United States,” Cuomo said Friday afternoon during a conference call with reporters. “...It was a blowout.”
Biden is on track to win with a significant majority of the popular vote — probably about a 5% margin — with a leading 73.9 million votes to 70 million-plus tallied so far for President Trump. In 2016, Trump lost the popular vote to Democrat Hillary Clinton by 2.87 million votes.
“If I give you these results on election night, the word is ‘blowout,’” Cuomo said. “The election results today wasn’t even a close election. Biden won by millions of votes on the popular votes, and they won Pennsylvania and they won Georgia. I mean, it’s not even close.
“...It’s a blowout in this weird election because of the different types of voting. ... Biden blows him out. Georgia. Pennsylvania. Nevada — blowout.”
President Donald Trump is acting predictably with widespread claims of voter fraud, Cuomo said.
“Maybe that’s why it’s infuriating — he said for weeks ‘The only way I lose is if there’s fraud.’ He said that,” the governor recalled. “...I’ve been up for three days watching election results.
It has to be over now. Biden won. Move on. That’s all. Go to take a nap, 12 hours’ sleep, and then we get up and we go to work.”
The governor expressed concern for the smattering of voting litigation from Trump’s campaign that will further delay the election and the country’s ongoing, radical polarization, but encouraged all votes to be counted to determine finalized tallies in Tuesday’s national and state races.
“In the New York elections, first, count the votes,” Cuomo said. “When they count the votes in New York, you’re going to see the Assembly and the Senate much better than what we see now. However, it shouldn’t have been that close.”
New York Republicans had a stronger-than-expected showing on Tuesday night after losing their Senate majority in 2018.
Republicans emerged from Election Day with big leads over incumbent Senate Democrats across several Long Island seats as well as one in Brooklyn, but thousands of absentee ballots have yet to be counted.
Dems’ dreams of a supermajority in the Senate remained uncertain Friday as election officials prepared to start counting thousands of absentee ballots.
Absentee ballot votes are expected to lean Democratic, with Republicans largely favoring in-person voting this year following Trump and running mate Vice President Mike Pence’s concern about fraudulent counts.
Absentee and affidavit ballots could start to be counted in the state Friday at the very earliest, with several county boards of elections expecting to begin the process Monday morning.
New York Republicans were successful in influencing voters to believe Democrats discourage law and order and do not support law enforcement Cuomo said, adding remarks how Democrats gained seats in New Jersey’s Legislature, which has similar Democratic control in the Senate and Assembly.
“In New York, I think the Republican message that they orchestrated saying Democratic chaos must be stopped; ‘Democrats are anti-law and order,’” the governor said. “I think that resonated in New York. It’s untrue. What Democrats are saying, we object to racism and police abuse and what happened to George Floyd, but we believe in law and order and we respect the police and we respect the police who deserve respect.”
Republicans currently lead in eight Senate races, including five where they challenged sitting Democratic incumbents.
The party currently controls 40 of the 63 seats in the chamber, they need to add two more seats for a two-thirds veto-proof majority.
Republicans, who lost the majority in 2018 and endured a rash of retirements in recent months, slammed Democrats during the election cycle over criminal justice reforms, changes to bail laws and echoed President Trump’s mantra of “law and order” amid protests over police brutality and racism.
Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay, R-Fulton, said Republican support in districts across New York reinforced the need for the state GOP’s commitment to fiscal responsibility and public safety.
“The results from this Election Day speak to the outstanding quality of character of our candidates, the great campaigns they ran and all the hard work of their supporters and numerous volunteers,” Barclay said in a statement. “...Our platform of lowering the cost of living in the state, reducing the tax burden on small business and middle-class families, fiscal responsibility and a steadfast dedication to keeping our residents safe has resonated with voters in New York.”
Republicans will gain at least 11 new members, Barclay said.
“Our conference continues to grow,” he added. “This was a tremendous accomplishment, especially considering the fact that our conference is typically out-spent by a 4-to-1 margin. I extend my congratulations to all of our new members, as well as all the other candidates and winners in this year’s election.”
Cuomo and Barclay called on New Yorkers to come together and move past the 2020 contentious election season.
“It is time to refocus and come together to do the people’s work,” Barclay said Friday. “New members on both sides of the aisle must now get up to speed on the many issues facing New York. Our state is still marred by major economic uncertainties and the impact of COVID-19 is substantial. There is no shortage of work to do. I am confident, though, that together we will find workable solutions that account for the interests of all New Yorkers.”
The governor is eager for government to start anew.
“Let’s come together — let’s get to work,” Cuomo said. “[Trump] should say that. ... The Trump supporters should say that. ... ‘The election’s over, let’s come together.’ Everyone should say that.”
Tribune News Service contributed to this report.
*Editor’s note: This story corrects an earlier version that stated President Dolan’s Trump had 213 electoral votes as of Friday, not 214.