Joe Biden has overtaken Donald Trump in a key battleground state in a move that puts him on the cusp of securing the Presidency.
The Democrat has taken the lead in Pennsylvania, where a victory for the former vice president would push him past the threshold of electoral votes needed to win the White House, US media said Thursday.
CNN, The New York Times and NBC News all placed him in the lead in the state, which holds 20 electoral college votes and could secure him the Presidency if he is confirmed to win the whole thing.
It comes after Biden flipped the state of Georgia in his favour too, where he leads by around 1000 votes. That has also not been called yet. The Democrats have not won in Georgia since Bill Clinton in 1992. Several counties in Georgia are expected to deliver more votes for Biden in the closest race of the election so far.
Here’s where we’re at with the key races.
Pennsylvania (20 electoral votes at stake) – Biden has just been declared as leading by US media outlets.
Georgia (16 electoral votes at stake) – Biden is currently in the lead by 1096 votes with over 98 per cent of the vote counted.
Arizona (11 electoral votes at stake)– Biden is currently up by 47,052 votes with over 88 per cent of the vote counted.
Nevada (6 electoral votes at stake) – Biden is currently up by 11,438 with 89 per cent of the vote counted.
The contest is still too early for The Associated Press to call. Thousands of ballots are still left to be counted — many in counties where the former vice president was in the lead.
There is a potential that the race could go to a recount. Under Georgia law, if the margin between Biden and Trump is under half a percentage point of difference, a recount can be requested.
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With his pathway to re-election appearing to shrink, President Trump yesterday advanced unsupported accusations of voter fraud to falsely argue that his rival was trying to seize power. It amounted to an extraordinary effort by a sitting American president to sow doubt about the democratic process.
“This is a case when they are trying to steal an election, they are trying to rig an election,” Trump said from the podium of the White House briefing room.
The president’s remarks deepened a sense of anxiety in the US as Americans enter their third full day after the election without knowing who would serve as president for the next four years. His statements also prompted a rebuke from some Republicans, particularly those looking to steer the party in a different direction in a post-Trump era.
Neither candidate has reached the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the White House. But Biden eclipsed Trump in Wisconsin and Michigan, two crucial Midwestern battleground states, overtook the president in Georgia and was inching closer to doing the same in Pennsylvania, where votes were still be counted.
It was unclear when a national winner would be determined after a long, bitter campaign dominated by the coronavirus and its effects on Americans and the national economy. The US yesterday set another record for daily confirmed cases as several states posted all-time highs. The pandemic has killed more than 233,000 people in the United States.
Biden spent yesterday trying to ease tensions and project a more traditional image of presidential leadership. After participating in a coronavirus briefing, he declared that “each ballot must be counted.”
“I ask everyone to stay calm. The process is working,” Biden said. “It is the will of the voters. No one, not anyone else who chooses the president of the United States of America.”
Biden’s victories in the upper Midwest put him in a strong position, but Trump showed no sign of giving up. He was back on Twitter, insisting the “US Supreme Court should decide!”
It could take several more days for the vote count to conclude and a clear winner to emerge. With millions of ballots yet to be tabulated, Biden already had received more than 73 million votes, the most in history.
Trump’s erroneous claims about the integrity of the election challenged Republicans now faced with the choice of whether to break with a president who, though his grip on his office grew tenuous, commanded sky-high approval ratings from rank-and-file members of the GOP.
Maryland GOP Gov. Larry Hogan, a potential 2024 presidential hopeful who has often criticised Trump, said unequivocally: “There is no defense for the President’s comments tonight undermining our Democratic process. America is counting the votes, and we must respect the results as we always have before.”
But others who are rumoured to be considering a White House run of their own in four years aligned themselves with the incumbent, including Senator Josh Hawley, who tweeted support for Trump’s claims, writing that “If last 24 hours have made anything clear, it’s that we need new election integrity laws NOW.”
Trump’s campaign engaged in a flurry of legal activity to try to improve the Republican president’s chances, requesting a recount in Wisconsin and filing lawsuits in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Georgia.
Judges in Georgia and Michigan quickly dismissed Trump campaign lawsuits there.
Mail ballots from across the state were overwhelmingly breaking in Biden’s direction. A final vote total may not be clear for days because the use of mail-in ballots, which take more time to process, has surged as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Trump campaign said it was confident the president would ultimately pull out a victory in Arizona, where votes were also still being counted, including in Maricopa County, the state’s most populous area. The AP has declared Biden the winner in Arizona and said that it was monitoring the vote count as it proceeded.
“The Associated Press continues to watch and analyze vote count results from Arizona as they come in,” said Sally Buzbee, AP’s executive editor. “We will follow the facts in all cases.”
Trump’s campaign was lodging legal challenges in several states, though he faced long odds. He would have to win multiple suits in multiple states in order to stop vote counts, since more than one state was undeclared.
Some of the Trump team’s lawsuits only demand better access for campaign observers to locations where ballots are being processed and counted. A judge in Georgia dismissed the campaign’s suit there less than 12 hours after it was filed. And a Michigan judge dismissed a Trump lawsuit over whether enough GOP challengers had access to handling of absentee ballots.
Biden attorney Bob Bauer said the suits were legally “meritless.” Their only purpose, he said “is to create an opportunity for them to message falsely about what’s taking place in the electoral process.”
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