Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenNorth Korea conducts potential 6th missile test in a month Clyburn predicts Supreme Court contender J. Michelle Childs would get GOP votes Overnight Defense & National Security — US delivers written response to Russia MORE took a narrow lead in Pennsylvania just before 9 a.m. Friday morning, moving him closer to defeating President TrumpDonald TrumpNorth Korea conducts potential 6th missile test in a month Kemp leading Perdue in Georgia gubernatorial primary: poll US ranked 27th least corrupt country in the world MORE in the race for the White House.
Biden took a lead of 5,587 votes as ballots from Philadelphia were counted, diminishing Trump’s lead of 18,229 votes as of 6 a.m. Friday morning. Votes are still being tallied. Just before 11 a.m., Biden's lead stood at 6,826 votes.
The development came hours after Biden also eclipsed Trump for the lead in Georgia. Trump would need to win both states in order to win reelection.
News networks have yet to call the race in either state, but the new counts suggest that Biden is on pace to win both Pennsylvania and Georgia, which would seal off Trump’s path to reelection. Biden would capture the election outright if he wins Pennsylvania, but he does not need the state in order to win the election if he also maintains leads in two of the three states of Georgia, Arizona and Nevada.
Meanwhile, Biden doubled his lead in Nevada on Friday to 22,000 votes, giving him a 1.7 percentage point advantage over Trump.
A new batch of votes in Arizona showed Trump further cutting into Biden’s lead there, but he did not win the new tallies by the 20 point margin that strategists say he needs in order to overtake Biden in the key battleground.
Trump has shown no signs of plans to concede should Biden be declared the winner of the election. Indeed, he has promised more legal challenges, and allies say they expect him to fight rather than immediately concede.
The Trump campaign issued a statement shortly after the new Pennsylvania tallies were announced saying the election was not over, while hinting at future challenges in Georgia, Pennsylvania and Nevada and insisting Trump would ultimately win Arizona.
“This election is not over. The false projection of Joe Biden as the winner is based on results in four states that are far from final,” said Trump 2020 campaign general counsel Matt Morgan.
Pennsylvania began counting ballots on Election Day, beginning with votes cast the day of the election and then moving to ballots received by mail. Trump led Biden by a wide margin in Pennsylvania on Tuesday evening into Wednesday but his lead has gradually eroded as officials have tallied more and more of the mail-in ballots.
Both candidates’ campaigns focused tremendous resources on Pennsylvania in the battle for the commonwealth’s critical 20 electoral votes. Trump and Biden as well as their surrogates staged repeated appearances in the Keystone State in the final days of the campaign.
The race remains too close to call in Nevada, where Biden holds a lead, and North Carolina, where Trump is ahead. Fox News and The Associated Press have called the race in Arizona for Biden, but the contest has continued to narrow there as ballots are counted from Maricopa County and some have questioned whether the race could flip in favor of Trump.
As Trump’s hopes for reelection fade, he has raised allegations of fraud without providing any evidence of it, forecasting plans to mount lawsuits challenge the results. Trump launched a remarkable broadside against the electoral process in remarks from the White House on Thursday, claiming that Democrats were engaged in a kind of conspiracy to steal the election from him. His remarks have prompted sharp criticism from some Republicans.
“If you count the legal votes, I easily win. If you count the illegal votes, they can try to steal the election from us. If you count the votes that came in late, we’re looking at them very strongly,” Trump told reporters Thursday evening.
Biden has urged patience, calling for every vote to be counted and expressing confidence that he will be declared the winner in the end. Biden is likely to deliver remarks if he is declared the winner of the race on Friday.
Trump’s campaign has already demanded a recount in Wisconsin, where Biden won by a margin of just over 20,000 votes, and Morgan suggested Friday that the campaign would ultimately do the same in Georgia while claiming the campaign would discover ballots "improperly harvested" in the state. Morgan also indicated the campaign would ultimately mount challenges in Nevada and Pennsylvania over alleged voting irregularities.
At a press conference later Friday, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger, a Republican, said there would be a recount but noted there was no evidence of "widespread irregularities" associated with the election.
Updated: 12:27 p.m.