Multiple paths to 270 electoral votes and the White House are opening for Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenSunday shows preview: Coronavirus dominates as country struggles with delta variant Did President Biden institute a vaccine mandate for only half the nation's teachers? Democrats lean into vaccine mandates ahead of midterms MORE as the vote counts in several states tightened overnight.
Biden leads in Nevada and Arizona, but has seen his advantage slide in the latter. Biden leads by approximately 68,000 votes in the Sun Belt state he’s trying to flip from President TrumpDonald TrumpKinzinger says Trump 'winning' because so many Republicans 'have remained silent' Our remote warfare counterterrorism strategy is more risk than reward Far-right rally draws small crowd, large police presence at Capitol MORE.
Wins in both states would almost certainly lead to a Biden presidency, but he also has other paths to get to the 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House after he was projected as the winner on Wednesday in Michigan and Wisconsin.
In Nevada, Biden saw his vote grow by mid-Thursday afternoon to more than 11,000 votes.
In Georgia, Trump is ahead but the count is tightening. With 99 percent of estimated voters reported, Trump's lead is down to less than 9,600. Additional results are expected to be announced later on Thursday, some of them from areas such as Atlanta and its suburbs, where Democrats and Biden have an advantage.
In Pennsylvania, Biden is also gaining steadily on Trump as votes are counted. By late Thursday afternoon, Trump’s lead stood at less than 91,000 votes. More than 100,000 votes as of Thursday morning had yet to be counted in Philadelphia alone. Biden is winning around 80 percent of those votes, according to some estimates.
The question is whether Biden will continue to gain ground as mail-in ballots continue to be counted Thursday and Friday. Democrats had urged their voters to cast mail-in ballots because of the coronavirus pandemic.
In Michigan and Wisconsin, Trump held leads as the tally began, but lost them as a higher percentage of mail-in votes were counted.
This has given the Biden campaign confidence that the former vice president will eventually overtake Trump in Pennsylvania, rebuilding the “blue wall” of states that fell in 2016 and led to Trump’s victory.
In a conference call with reporters Thursday, campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon said the campaign’s internal numbers indicate that Biden will win a large enough share of the outstanding votes in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona or Nevada to be able to declare victory soon.
“Our data shows Joe Biden will be the next president of the United States,” O’Malley Dillon said.
Pennsylvania has 20 electoral votes, and Biden would get to 270 with a win there, meaning that he would still carve a path to the White House if Trump were able to win every other state that is still on the board, including those where Biden is now ahead.
Trump's hopes revolve in part around Arizona. His campaign has insisted that he has a path to victory in Arizona, rebutting earlier decisions by Fox News and The Associated Press to call the race for Biden. Several other networks, however, have not declared a winner.
Trump’s campaign has launched legal challenges over the counting processes in at least three states — Pennsylvania, Michigan and Georgia.
He has also asked for a recount in Wisconsin, where Biden’s margin of victory is less than a percentage point. Wisconsin allows for a recount with such a tight margin.
Other recounts are possible in states such as Georgia, where the margin between the two candidates is now less than 1 percent.
Trump stirred headlines early Wednesday morning with comments from the White House that showed he thought the election was being stolen from him. He prematurely declared himself the winner even as legitimate votes were still being counted in a number of states, remarks that drew stark criticism from GOP figures.
On Thursday, he tweeted that the count should stop, even though this would also stop vote counting in Arizona and North Carolina, where he leads.
A question going forward as Trump challenges the vote counts and processes in battleground states is the degree to which other GOP supporters fully back him.
One factor may be how many states ultimately declare Biden as the victor, underscoring the importance in all of the states still counting ballots.
Two other states have yet to announce their final results: Alaska, where Trump is expected to win, and North Carolina, where Trump had held a stable but small lead.
Tensions over the count are rising across the country, with reports of protests Wednesday night in Minneapolis; Portland, Ore.; New York; Phoenix and other cities.
— Morgan Chalfant contributed to this report.
This story was updated at 5:07 p.m.