by Sharon Rondeau
(Nov. 5, 2020) — At the opening of his Thursday night show, “Hannity” host Sean Hannity declared that “Any call of Arizona was premature,” which includes his employer, the Fox News Channel.
On Tuesday night, the AP and Fox declared Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden the winner of Arizona’s 11 electoral votes while hundreds of thousands of timely-received votes had not yet been counted.
Fox has faced harsh criticism for the conclusion announced by its “Decision Desk,” which “Fox & Friends” co-host Brian Kilmeade told Kellyanne Conway in a Thursday morning interview the network continued to support.
As counting has progressed in Maricopa County beginning on Wednesday, Trump has reportedly gained ground on Biden’s lead with an estimated 57% of the votes, a percentage the campaign says he needs to overturn the announced results.
On Thursday afternoon, Trump supporter and senior campaign adviser David Bossie gave a press conference from Arizona in which he said that if Trump continued to gain votes at the current level, the state would be declared “Trump country” and its electoral votes placed in Trump’s tally.
At approximately 9:07 p.m. EST, Hannity declared that another batch of approximately Maricopa County 74,000 votes had been counted and that Trump won 57% of them.
The Trump campaign’s internal polling had reportedly demonstrated that the president would win Arizona, particularly with strong support in Maricopa County.
As Hannity spoke, a graphic showing Arizona as having been called for Biden was shown, albeit with a smaller margin separating the two candidates than had been displayed on Tuesday night and Wednesday.
Contrary to a report issued by Arizona Central on Wednesday and updated Thursday, George Khalaf of Digital Orbus said that Trump has gained a significant number of votes in Pima County as well as Maricopa County.
Khalaf reported there are approximately 320,000 ballots remaining to be counted. When pressed by Hannity about the early Arizona call for Biden, Khalaf asserted that it was “extremely premature.”