Democrat Joe Biden stood on the verge of winning the US presidency on Friday, as he expanded his narrow leads over President Donald Trump in the battleground states of Pennsylvania and Georgia three days after polls closed.
Biden’s lead over Trump in popular vote is 4 million plus.
And here we are waiting for Pennsylvania… #ElectionResults2020
— Sherwin Bryce-Pease (@sherwiebp) November 6, 2020
Biden has a 253 to 214 lead in the state-by-state Electoral College vote that determines the winner, according to Edison Research. Winning Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes would put the former vice president over the 270 he needs to secure the presidency.
Biden would also win the election if he takes two of the three other key states where he held narrow leads on Friday: Georgia, Arizona and Nevada. Like Pennsylvania, all three were still processing ballots on Friday.
As Biden inched closer to triumph, he was expected to address the nation on Friday evening, according to two people familiar with his plans. That may be a victory speech, given that his aides say Biden appears on the cusp of winning.
Meanwhile, Trump showed little sign he was ready to concede, making clear in a statement on Friday he would continue to press his unsubstantiated claims of election fraud.
“From the beginning we have said that all legal ballots must be counted and all illegal ballots should not be counted, yet we have met resistance to this basic principle by Democrats at every turn,” he said in a statement released by his campaign.
“We will pursue this process through every aspect of the law to guarantee that the American people have confidence in our government,” Trump said.
The statement came a day after Trump leveled an extraordinary attack on the democratic process by a sitting president, appearing at the White House on Thursday evening to falsely claim the election was being “stolen” from him.
In both Pennsylvania and Georgia, Biden overtook Trump as officials processed thousands of mail-in ballots that were cast in urban Democratic strongholds including Philadelphia and Atlanta.
The surge in mail voting has slowed the counting process in numerous states, a fresh reminder of the pandemic that will remain the next president’s most formidable challenge:
Hundreds of Democrats gathered outside Philadelphia’s downtown vote-counting site, wearing yellow shirts reading “Count Every Vote.” In Detroit, a crowd of Trump supporters, some armed, protested outside the counting location, waving flags and chanting, “Fight!”
A sense of grim resignation settled in at the White House on Friday, where the president was monitoring TV and talking to advisers on the phone. One adviser said it was clear the race was tilting against Trump, but that Trump was not ready to admit defeat.
His campaign is pursuing a series of lawsuits across battleground states, but legal experts described them as unlikely to succeed in altering the election outcome.
He also said the campaign expected to pursue a recount in Georgia, as it has said it will do in Wisconsin, where Biden won by more than 20 000 votes. A margin that wide has never been overturned by a recount, according to Edison Research.
Election officials across the nation have said they are unaware of any significant irregularities. Georgia officials said on Friday they expect a recount, which can be requested by a candidate if the final margin is less than 0.5%, as it currently is.
Biden expressed confidence on Thursday he would win and urged patience. In response to the idea that Trump might not concede, Biden spokesperson Andrew Bates said in a statement on Friday, “The United States government is perfectly capable of escorting trespassers out of the White House.”