Biden Predicts Victory as Lead Over Trump Grows in Key States
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Joe Biden said he was certain of a resounding victory over President Donald Trump as he inched closer to claiming the White House with an expanding lead in several battleground states though the final outcome remained stalled by the painstaking work of counting ballots.
“We’re going to win this race,” he said Friday night in Wilmington, Delaware. “I want people to know we’re not waiting to get the work done.”
He stopped short of declaring victory and drew a contrast with Trump by urging patience with the slow vote count. He expressed confidence that he would prevail in Pennsylvania, Nevada and Georgia, where he leads.
“We have to remain calm, patient. Let the process work out as we count all the votes. Democracy works. Your vote will be counted,” he said.
Earlier Friday, the Democratic nominee overtook Trump to claim a slim advantage in Pennsylvania, where a victory would push him past the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the presidency. He currently leads nearly 29,000 votes there, according to Associated Press, and the late-counted ballots are overwhelmingly in his favor.
Trump vowed to contest the results and questioned the integrity of the process, without providing evidence of voter fraud.
“We will pursue this process through every aspect of the law to guarantee the American people have confidence in our government,” the president said in a statement issued by his campaign.
As the nation awaited the final outcome, Biden also held close leads in Nevada and Georgia. The former vice president has also won Arizona, according to the Associated Press and Fox News, although his lead there is narrowing as counting continues and other television networks see that race as too close to call.
John Lapinski, who manages race calls for NBC News, made clear that his network was taking a cautious approach to declaring who will win the White House.
“This particular year, there are just so many curveballs that have been thrown our way that we really are taking a little bit more time to make sure that we understand exactly what we’re seeing and analyzing it,” he said.
The prolonged count left voters and markets on edge for the end of a bitter campaign waged under the shadow a sharp economic downturn and the coronavirus pandemic. U.S. stocks registered the biggest weekly increase since April. The S&P 500 fell less than 0.05% in the wake of a four-day rally added more than $1.5 trillion to the value of stocks. The benchmark index climbed 7.3% this week.
‘Race Is Not Over’
Decision Desk HQ, an election-data firm, projected Biden will win Pennsylvania and therefore the presidency early Friday, but other news organizations have not followed suit. Bloomberg News does not use Decision Desk HQ projections to determine election winners.
The Trump campaign immediately rejected that call.
“This race is not over,” said Trump campaign lawyer Matt Morgan. He said the call was based on faulty projections in four states that he claimed had voting irregularities. “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.”
The Biden campaign, however, dismissed attacks on the results and concerns that Trump might not concede.
“The American people will decide this election. And the United States government is perfectly capable of escorting trespassers out of the White House,” said campaign spokesman Andrew Bates.
Speaking Friday morning on CNBC, Trump’s top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, said he expects a “peaceful transfer of power” if Biden wins. “We abide by the rule of law and so will this president,” he said.
With the Georgia result razor thin — Biden is currently up by only 4,020 votes — the Georgia secretary of state said Friday there would be a recount of the presidential vote total there.
In many ways, the week has unfolded in the way many observers predicted, with Trump racking up leads in key states in votes counted on election night, while Biden has added to his totals with mail-in votes counted later that eroded Trump’s advantage. Trump has pointed to that change in his fortunes as evidence of fraud but volatility was expected because of increased mail-in voting due to the coronavirus.
In addition, Trump spent so much time before the election telegraphing his contention that only votes on Election Day should be counted, and his threat to challenge the results, that it gave legal experts a chance to educate voters ahead of time.
Trump’s legal challenges were largely aimed at slowing or pausing counting of the votes, and were generally unsuccessful.
Utah Senator Mitt Romney slammed the president’s claims of sweeping fraud.
“He is wrong to say that the election was rigged, corrupt and stolen — doing so damages the cause of freedom here and around the world, weakens the institutions that lie at the foundation of the Republic, and recklessly inflames destructive and dangerous passions,” Romney said on Twitter.
In Nevada, Biden’s lead jumped to 22,657 in Friday counting. The state has just six Electoral College votes, but would clinch the presidency for Biden if he also held neighboring Arizona.
Winning Pennsylvania would be particularly meaningful for Biden, who lived in the state until age 10 and was sometimes called the state’s third senator because the Philadelphia media market reaches into Delaware, which he represented in the Senate.
— With assistance by Saleha Mohsin, Laura Davison, Mark Niquette, Gregory Korte, Tyler Pager, and Josh Wingrove
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