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Ohio's Republican Gov. Mike DeWine: 'Joe Biden is the President-elect'

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But DeWine also said Trump has 'every right' to file lawsuits to challenge election results

Justin Merriman/Getty Images

Ohio's Republican governor said Thursday that it's time for the American people to recognize former Vice President Joe Biden as the president-elect.

Appearing on CNN's "New Day," Gov. Mike DeWine said, "I think that we need to consider the former vice president as the President-elect. Joe Biden is the President-elect."

President Donald Trump has refused to concede the election to Biden although he is still behind by several tens of thousands votes in key battleground states. The Trump campaign has filed lawsuits in six states seeking to challenge the results of the election by invalidating votes cast for Biden, alleging voter fraud and election process irregularities.

DeWine, who endorsed Trump for re-election, also said that Trump has "every right" to file lawsuits but added he doesn't know if Trump's case has merit.

"Look, I'm worried about this virus, I'm not looking at what the merits of the case are. It would appear that Joe Biden is going to be the next president of the United States," he told CNN.

Legal experts say it is doubtful these lawsuits will successfully overturn the election.

"He has the right to mount legal challenges, but we should be clear that these are 'Hail Mary' passes we might think of in American football," conservative lawyer John Yoo told CNBC Thursday.

"None of these cases really look like they have a very high probability of winning," Yoo said. "On the other hand, I think that Trump has every right to try and demand that all the states be sure about the votes, so that we all have confidence in the election. But I'll say, looking at past cases, these are very hard cases to prove and generally they don't result in changes in the votes totals on the order by which President Trump lost to Joe Biden."

DeWine joins several elected Republicans who have publicly acknowledged Biden's victory.

Fellow Republican Governors Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, Phil Scott of Vermont, and Larry Hogan of Maryland have each congratulated Biden on becoming president-elect.

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), congratulated Biden and his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) on Twitter.

"We know both of them as people of good will and admirable character. We pray that God may bless them in the days and years ahead," Romney said on Saturday.

He later told NBC News that the transition of power should begin as soon as possible.

"It's very much in our national interest, in our foreign policy interest, national security interest, to make sure that if there's a new team that may become the leadership team, that they be given all access as quickly as possible," Romney said.

Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) also congratulated Biden for winning. Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) have called for the transition process to begin.

DeWine said it's time for the country to move past the election and focus on combating the coronavirus.

"Look, we just all need to take a deep breath. There is a process for all of this. You need to follow the process. And we need to move this country forward. I think the most important thing is that we come together as a country," DeWine told CNN. "You know, we have a common enemy, it's not Republicans and it's not Democrats, our common enemy is this virus."

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