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WASHINGTON — Republican Donald Trump can still pull out a win on Nov. 8, Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace said Wednesday at a panel hosted by the Washington Economic Club.
Wallace, who moderated the third presidential debate, speculated about possible outcomes on election night along with Politico chief White House correspondent Mike Allen, CNN chief political analyst Gloria Borger and Cook Political Report editor Charlie Cook.
The Washington Post-ABC News Tracking Poll put Trump ahead of Clinton by a mere point Tuesday, leaving the assembled punditry guessing on how tight the election will be when returns roll in Tuesday night.
Wallace said the fallout from FBI Director James Comey’s recent disclosure about another cache of emails possibly linked to Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton has given the Republican Party’s nominee new hope.
“She was the clear favorite,” Wallace said. “I still think you have to say that she has an easier path to 270 than he does, but it is changed.”
Wallace said the key Tuesday will be the state of Florida. The polls currently have Clinton and Trump at almost a dead heat. CNN’s latest poll has Clinton at 49 percent and Trump at 47 percent in the closely-contested state. Wallace said if Trump loses Florida, then “it’s over,” and “there’s no way he gets 270 (electoral) votes.”
Borger questioned whether the turnout of Clinton voters will take a dip because of a lack of enthusiasm. Clinton’s enthusiasm numbers are shifting down which could cause voters to stay home, the CNN pundit said. Borger said Democrats should also be worried that a lack of enthusiasm for Clinton could raise voter enthusiasm and turnout for Trump.
If Clinton does end up winning next Tuesday, Wallace said he isn’t sure whether Trump will immediately concede.
“If it’s 500 votes in Florida maybe not,” he said. “But if it’s millions of votes, I think he will accept it.”
However, Wallace said Clinton has a distinct advantage heading into the election.
“If you go back and look there are 18 states and the District of Columbia that have voted six of the last elections in the row for a Democrat,” Wallace said. “They have 242 electoral votes, which means if every state votes Democrat that always does, she only needs 18 more electoral votes to win.”
Borger said the turning point for Clinton was the first presidential debate; Wallace said it was “the nomination of Donald Trump.”
The panel also questioned who will lead the Republican Party after the election. Allen said he doesn’t see House Speaker Paul Ryan leaving his leadership post to run for president in 2020 and instead expects “somebody that wasn’t involved in this mess,” to emerge — like Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina.
Charlie Cook added that Republicans could see losses in the U.S. House in the election, amounting to 13 to 15 seats, but he does believe that Sen. Marco Rubio will win the Senate seat in Florida by “four or five points.”