Biden close to White House victory as he builds leads in Pennsylvania, Georgia
WASHINGTON: Democrat Joe Biden expanded his narrow leads over President Donald Trump in the battleground states of Pennsylvania and Georgia on Friday, putting him on the verge of winning the White House three days after polls closed.
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 prevails in 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 a person familiar with his plans. The remarks could be a victory speech; a Biden aide said he could be declared the winner within hours.
In both Pennsylvania and Georgia, Joe Biden overtook Donald Trump on the strength of mail-in ballots that were cast in urban Democratic strongholds including Philadelphia and Atlanta.
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!”
With his re-election chances fading, Trump escalated his baseless attacks on the results, appearing at the White House on Thursday evening to falsely claim the election was being “stolen” from him.
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.
The campaign’s general counsel, Matt Morgan, asserted in a statement on Friday that the elections in Georgia, Nevada and Pennsylvania all suffered from improprieties and that Trump would eventually prevail in Arizona.
“This election is not over,” he said. “Biden is relying on these states for his phony claim on the White House, but once the election is final, President Trump will be re-elected.”
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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 spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement on Friday, “The United States government is perfectly capable of escorting trespassers out of the White House.”