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Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

The Trump campaign said on Wednesday that it plans to file for recounts in two Wisconsin counties — a state Joe Biden won by more than 20,600 votes, per AP.

The state of play: According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Trump paid the $3 million needed for a recount in Milwaukee and Dane counties — two of the most liberal counties in the state. The recount must start no later than Saturday and finish by Dec. 1.

Between the lines via Axios' Jonathan Swan: The Wisconsin partial recount is the most important signal so far that Trump will continue with his challenges until Dec. 14.

The big picture: Recounts have historically only changed electoral margins by very few votes, according to the nonpartisan election reform group FairVote.

  • Former Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker suggested after the election that Biden's lead in the state was too steep to be overturned in a recount, saying "20,000 is a big hurdle" for the president.
  • Trump won the state in 2016 by 23,000 votes, and the state recount that year netted the president an additional 131 votes.

Worth noting: There is already a by-hand recount underway in Georgia, where Biden leads by around 14,000 votes.

  • In Pennsylvania, Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said she will not order a recount or recanvass of ballots cast in the 2020 election "as no statewide candidate was defeated by one-half of 1% or less of the votes cast."

Editor's note: Scott Walker is a former governor of Wisconsin (not the current governor).

Go deeper

Off the Rails

Barbarians at the Oval

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump plunked down in an armchair in the White House residence, still dressed from his golf game — navy fleece, black pants, white MAGA cap. It was Saturday, Nov. 7. The networks had just called the election for Joe Biden.

Off the Rails

Last stand in Georgia

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Drew Angerer, Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

On Air Force One, President Trump was in a mood. He had been clear he did not want to return to Georgia, and yet somehow he'd been conscripted into another rally on the night of Jan. 4.

Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day

Expand chart
Data: N.Y. Times; Cartogram: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

The U.S. Omicron wave may be peaking, but now COVID deaths are climbing as cases continue to soar in most of the country.

The big picture: Omicron’s stranglehold in the U.S. started about a month ago. Its death toll — while almost certain to be smaller than previous waves of the pandemic — is only now starting to take hold, and deaths will likely continue to rise for several weeks.