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Politics, Elections and Government

Kansas City Democrats Take To The Streets In Celebration As AP Calls Presidential Race For Biden

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Lucas Cuni-Mertz/KCUR 89.3
Biden supporters in Kansas City started gathering in Mill Creek Park off the Plaza around 11 a.m. Saturday morning after the AP called the presidential race.

Joe Biden has secured 290 electoral votes after winning Pennsylvania and Nevada. President Trump says the election isn't over yet.

Kansas Citians who voted for Joe Biden raced outside Saturday morning to celebrate the Associated Press finally calling the presidential race.

Mary Espinoza, Mary Anthes and Priscilla Miles gathered at 57th and Kenwood in the Brookside neighborhood, waving as neighbors honked horns and piled their kids in wagons for an impromptu victory parade. A block away, someone was setting off fireworks.

Miles said she hoped Biden would “improve the country.”

“Bring unity to everyone,” Espinoza chimed in. “Start to rebuild, that’s the main thing.”

“Embrace each other,” Miles added.

The AP and other major news networks called the race for Biden around 10:30 a.m. after the former vice president secured 270 electoral votes by winning Pennsylvania. The AP then called Nevada for Biden, bringing his total to 290. Ballots are still being counted in Georgia, where Biden is ahead by about 7,000 votes.

President Trump has vowed to challenge the results, declaring on Twitter he won the election “BY A LOT!” His campaign has contested the counting of mail-in ballots in several states, alleging voter fraud. The Department of Homeland Security's cybersecurity agency has stated unequivocally that just because results are delayed doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with the underlying data.

Most people learned Biden had won when they received push notifications on their phones. Kansas City, Missouri, resident Kevin Holmes headed to Mill Creek Park off the Plaza.

Holmes said he didn’t think Trump could eke out a victory now.

“There’s no way,” Holmes told KCUR. “It’s all been done legally. I’m confident in our democracy that it was done right and that all the votes that were supposed to be counted were counted.”

Holmes said he thinks Biden will do a better job of handling the pandemic than Trump has.

Also at Mill Creek Park, Overland Park residents Andrea Wickerham and her wife, Janet Justus, wore masks as they celebrated.

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Lucas Cuni-Mertz, KCUR 89.3
Overland Park residents Andrea Wickerham and her wife, Janet Justus, rushed to Mill Creek Park off the Plaza on Saturday to celebrate the AP calling the presidential race for Joe Biden.

“When I heard it this morning, especially from Pennsylvania, we broke down and we cried. We were dancing for joy. It’s just so emotional and so well-deserved,” said Wickerham, who is originally from Pennsylvania. “He (Biden) supports gay marriage, he’s pro-union, he’s pro-labor, he clearly wants to raise the minimum wage.”

Wickerham said she expected Trump supporters would also be out this weekend, though she hoped they would stay away.

“They have the right to protest as well. I just hope it doesn’t turn violent. They can say what they want and support what they want, but we really need to stay away from violence,” Wickerham said.

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas congratulated Biden and Kamala Harris, who is the first woman, the first Black person and the first Asian American to be elected vice president.

“As someone who remembers seeing the pictures of presidents and vice presidents when I grew up, what amazing pride every little girl — and little boy — now can have seeing a picture of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris,” Lucas said in a statement.

Congressman Emmanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., also congratulated Biden and Harris in a tweet.

U.S. Senator Josh Hawley, R-Mo., however, accused national news outlets of calling the race too soon.

Nationally, Biden is leading the popular vote by about 4 million. More American voted for him than any other candidate in U.S. history.

Correction: Janet Justus' name was misspelled in an earlier version of this post. KCUR apologizes for the error.

Jashin Lin contributed to this report.

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