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Biden Widens Lead In White House Race As Contest Remains Too Close To Call

Biden on Friday overtook President Trump in Georgia and Pennsylvania — states the president had banked on winning to secure reelection.
Jessica McGowan
Getty Images
Biden on Friday overtook President Trump in Georgia and Pennsylvania — states the president had banked on winning to secure reelection.

Four days after Americans cast the final ballots in the 2020 White House race, votes are still being counted but Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has maintained his lead in electoral votes.

"We're going to win this race with a clear majority," Biden said late Friday, speaking alongside his running mate, Kamala Harris, in his home state of Delaware.

"What's becoming clear each hour is that record number of Americans, of all races, faiths, religions, chose change over more of the same," he said.

A path to victory for the incumbent, President Trump, has narrowed, as Biden has overtaken the Republican nominee in Georgia and Pennsylvania — key battleground states that the president had banked on winning.

In Georgia, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Trump ally, has predicted the state will conduct a recount given how thin the margin is. In Pennsylvania, a federal judge on Thursday threw out a prospective lawsuit that had sought to halt ballot tallying in the Democratic stronghold of Philadelphia.

The Associated Press has not yet declared a winner in either state as results remain too close call. Georgia voters had until Friday evening to return overseas and active military ballots, as well as fix any errors on absentee ballots. The state was on Friday still counting provisional ballots and mail-in ballots from some Republican-leaning counties.

Pennsylvania was still counting thousands of mail-in ballots on Friday from Democrat-heavy counties.

As of early Saturday morning, the Associated Press had called races in most states, allotting to Biden 264 electoral votes, and to Trump, 214. A total of 270 electoral votes are needed to secure the presidency.

As the likelihood that he would maintain the presidency diminished, Trump re-upped his unfounded and unprecedented attacks on the integrity of the election and accused Democrats and the media of having rigged the outcome.

"Joe Biden should not wrongfully claim the office of the President. I could make that claim also. Legal proceedings are just now beginning!" Trump tweeted on Friday evening. He had previously, falsely declared himself the victor in the race, even as Biden has consistently maintained a lead in electoral votes since early Wednesday.

But as absentee ballots were tallied and Biden widened his lead in the race, Trump expanded the breadth of his misinformation about the election process. The president this week said he expects "a lot of litigation" to contest the election's results. Election experts, both conservative and liberal, however, say that so far they have seen no evidence of fraud.

Biden, for his part, has continued to push the importance of counting all votes before either party could claim victory and has repeatedly expressed his confidence that he and running mate Kamala Harris would emerge victorious.

Amid his baseless election attacks, Trump has found himself increasingly isolated from the rest of his party, as some Republicans have either ignored or outright denounced the president's misinformation campaign.

Aides to the president have warned him that he has few legal options to contest the election results, but Trump still wants to try, according a former campaign adviser who remains in touch with key players told NPR's Franco Ordoñez.

"It's dawning on him," the former adviser said, speaking on condition of anonymity to comment on private conversations. "He never thought he could lose ... and those of us who are in Trump World, we actually never believed he could lose," the former adviser said.

Trump's ability to withstand crisis after crisis conditioned his team to have "a false sense of reality because he's survived so many times. You just assume he's going to survive again," the former adviser said.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Alana Wise is a politics reporter on the Washington desk at NPR.