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Trump campaign: Fox News election guru who called Arizona for Biden conflicted by Democrat loyalties

Arnon Mishkin "is a registered Democrat who voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, worked as a Democrat political consultant, and has a long record of donating to Democrats, including the 2008 Obama-Biden campaign," Trump campaign said in a statement.

Published: November 5, 2020 7:59pm

Updated: November 6, 2020 11:32am

The Trump campaign slammed the director of the Fox News decision desk, which projects the channel's election night winners, for Democratic donations, including the 2008 Obama-Biden campaign, and his past work as a Democratic consultant.

The Trump campaign on Thursday afternoon issued a press statement claiming that Arnon Mishkin prematurely called Arizona for Democrat Joe Biden before hundreds of thousands of ballots had been counted. The campaign noted that even left-leaning election analysts like Nate Silver have criticized the decision and have called on Fox and the Associated Press to retract their calls. For now, Mishkin and Fox News are standing by what the campaign called "his terrible decision."

"Why would Mishkin put his finger on the scale for Joe Biden before so many votes are counted?" the campaign statement read. "Mishkin is a registered Democrat who voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, worked as a Democrat political consultant, and has a long record of donating to Democrats, including the 2008 Obama-Biden campaign. As the votes are counted, President Trump continues to cut into Joe Biden's lead in Arizona. Five major election decision organizations have refused to follow Mishkin's lead and call the race in Arizona, because they know what the Arizona Republic knows: "Trump received almost the exact share he would need to charge back to win Arizona's 11 electoral votes and potentially reelection."

On Thursday evening, Mishkin appeared on Fox News and defended his work during a segment with Fox News anchor Bret Baier.

"Essentially, everyone on our team is very interested politically, and so they all vote," Mishkin said. "I don't ask them specifically how they vote. I do know that many of them have professional experience that's Republican, others of them have professional experience that's Democratic. The Trump campaign is correct in my professional experience includes political consulting for Democrats when I worked in political consulting." 

Mishkin said that over the past 12 years since he joined the decision desk, he has donated a total of $800 to political candidates. However, he also gave more donations to Democrats prior to assuming that role. Listings from the Center For Responsive Politics show Mishkin has given $4,500 since 2000, with just $500 to a Republican and the rest to Democrats.

"Five hundred of that went to a classmate of mine who is a congressman, a Republican congressman, and another $300 went to a friend of a classmate who is a Democrat," Mishkin said. "So $500 to the Republicans. $300 to the Democrats. Some more money back before I was the head of the decision team here. The team totally agrees with the call, the team when we come to FOX, we basically check our politics at the door and focus our statistical or political analysis on the computer and what the numbers show. And that's … that's it."

Mishkin on Thursday evening stood by the network'’s call for Joe Biden in Arizona:

"We remain confident, the entire team remains confident in this call," Mishkin said. "We believe that at the end of the day, when the count is concluded, Joe Biden will finish ahead of Donald Trump," Mishkin said. "We have taken into account the fact that there is, that President Trump is likely to get I think he said 55% of the votes in order to close the gap with the former vice president."

Baier said Mishkin's editorial team included Democratic and Republican experts, including statisticians. 

"We promised when we started this that we were going to be fully transparent and we were going to lift the curtain and talk to you guys about decisions every time there was something that we had questions about," Baier said. "And that's what we did over the past two days." 

Trump has been increasingly critical of Fox News, tweeting last week: "The biggest difference between now and 2016 is @FoxNews. They are a whole different deal. Despite this, our campaign is doing much better, with bigger crowds and even more (much!) enthusiasm, than we had in 2016. Big Debate & SCOTUS Win! Real Polls have us winning everywhere!"

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Fox News, CNN and MNSBC all declined to comment in response to inquiries from Just the News about whether any of those networks had policies on partisan donations or political consulting by employees of the networks. 

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