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Biden wins presidential election as Senate hangs in balance – projections

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has the electoral votes needed to become president, major media organizations projected Nov. 7 as the last battleground states counted votes.

As of Nov. 7, Biden had won a popular vote majority of 50.5% and at least 273 electoral votes after The Associated Press, CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC and Fox News declared Biden the winner in Pennsylvania.

Biden claimed victory in a Nov. 7 statement. "I am honored and humbled by the trust the American people have placed in me and in Vice President-elect Harris," Biden said. "With the campaign over, it’s time to put the anger and the harsh rhetoric behind us and come together as a nation."

President Donald Trump, meanwhile, has filed suits in several close states and tweeted Nov. 7 that he won.

The Trump campaign struck back at the media election calls. "The simple fact is this election is far from over. Joe Biden has not been certified as the winner of any states. ... Beginning Monday, our campaign will start prosecuting our case in court to ensure election laws are fully upheld and the rightful winner is seated," the campaign said in a statement.

READ MORE: A potential return of net neutrality regulations for broadband services is one of the biggest tech changes on the horizon under a Biden administration.

Democrats gained only one Senate seat so far, defying predictions of a "blue wave," with contests in North Carolina and Alaska still too early to call. If the Republican incumbents win those races, Democrats would need to pick up two runoff elections in Georgia in January 2021 to reach the 50 seats needed to form a majority with the vice presidential tiebreaker.

SNL Image

Joe Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris, have pushed past the needed 270 electoral votes and have 50.5% of the national popular vote, according to media organizations' projections.
Source: Biden campaign via Getty Images

Biden would inherit an economic recovery that has begun to flag, and he is likely to face immediate challenges from a Republican-led Senate to implementing his economic agenda, which centers on another round of comprehensive pandemic relief, tax raises for corporations and high-income earners, and a multilateral approach to resolving trade conflicts.

Biden and markets

Stock markets surged Nov. 4 but have since leveled out. The S&P 500 S&P closed Nov. 6 at 3,509.44, down 0.03%.

"There was no clear mandate from the American people," Peter Cardillo, chief market economist for Spartan Capital Securities, said in an interview. "That just means gridlock, and gridlock always seems to be friendly towards the market."

One reason for stock markets to look favorably on Biden administration gridlock is blocking or watering down his tax plan, which the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center estimated would cost companies and individuals $2.4 trillion over 10 years. Biden has pledged to raise the maximum corporate federal tax to 28% from 21% — the level the Trump administration and Congress brought it to from 35% in 2017. He has also promised to raise income taxes on earners making $400,000 or more.

Biden has also pledged to make publicly traded companies disclose their climate risks and emissions levels, which some analysts have said will help companies and investors make better-informed decisions as they pursue decarbonization targets.

READ MORE: Biden's aggressive climate and energy policies target sweeping changes in the energy sector.

Down-ballot effects

Congress appears likely to remain under the jurisdiction of a Republican-led Senate and a Democrat-led House. As of Nov. 7, Republicans held 48 Senate seats after fending off several Democratic challengers. Democrats controlled 48 seats after former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper beat Sen. Cory Gardner and Mark Kelly beat Sen. Martha McSally in Arizona.

Aside from the North Carolina and Alaska races, the two remaining seats will be contested in runoff elections in Georgia.

U.S. voters also weighed in on a host of ballot issues affecting the energy sector. Voters in Louisiana voted in favor for amending the state constitution to allow the presence or production of oil or gas to be taken into account when assessing the fair market value of an oil or gas well for ad valorem property tax purposes. New Mexico voters, meanwhile, approved an amendment to cut the number of commissioners on the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission from five to three.

Voters in Arizona, Montana, New Jersey and South Dakota also approved measures to legalize possession and recreational use of cannabis, while Mississippi and South Dakota also adopted initiatives permitting marijuana use.