Biden slowly expands lead as counting stretches into weekend

Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenManchin to vote to nix Biden's vaccine mandate for larger businesses Congress averts shutdown after vaccine mandate fight Senate cuts deal to clear government funding bill MORE is expanding his leads in key swing states as voting to determine the victor in the White House race stretches into the weekend.

Biden has expanded his leads in Pennsylvania and Georgia, two states where he was trailing President TrumpDonald TrumpBaldwin calls Trump criticism following 'Rust' shooting 'surreal' Haley hits the stump in South Carolina Mary Trump files to dismiss Trump's lawsuit over NYT tax story MORE heading into Friday, while protecting his advantages in Nevada and Arizona, putting him in a strong position to win the presidential contest.

The former vice president has a roughly 29,000-vote lead in Pennsylvania, seen as a lynchpin in his path to victory, and a 4,000-vote edge in Georgia. A Biden victory in the Peach State would mark the first time a Democratic presidential nominee has won there since 1992 and establish Georgia as a swing state in future cycles. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) said Friday that he expects there to be a recount in the state with such a narrow margin, particularly given the roughly 8,000 military ballots that have yet to be counted there. The Trump campaign also sent a complaint to the Supreme Court over the vote count in Pennsylvania, though court observers are skeptical that the effort will be successful.

Biden’s lead has also mushroomed to nearly 23,000 votes in Nevada, and while his Arizona lead has shrunk to about 30,000 votes, prognosticators are doubtful Trump can make up enough ground there to catch up.

Trump still leads by about 76,000 votes in North Carolina, which is too close to officially call but where the president is still favored.

Biden expressed confidence that he would ultimately be declared the winner of the White House race, saying in a speech that the tallies tell a “clear and convincing story. We’re going to win this race.”

“Twenty-four hours [ago], we were behind in Georgia, now we’re ahead. We’re going to win that state. Twenty-four hours ago we were behind in Pennsylvania. And we are going to win in Pennsylvania. Now we’re ahead, we’re winning in Arizona, we’re winning in Nevada. In fact, our lead just doubled in Nevada. We’re on track for over 300 Electoral College votes,” he said. “We’re going to win with a clear majority and the nation behind us.”

ADVERTISEMENT

“And what’s becoming clear each hour is that a record number of Americans of all races, faiths, religions chose change over more of the same. They’ve given us a mandate for action on COVID, the economy, climate change, systemic racism. They made it clear, they want the country to come together, not continue to pull apart. The people spoke, more than 74 million Americans, and they spoke loudly for our ticket.”

The count in several of the states has been slower than anticipated, particularly in Pennsylvania, which if Biden won would jolt him over the 270 Electoral College votes needed to clinch the White House.

Of all the states in question, Arizona is the only one that has been called by any media outlet, with The Associated Press and Fox News projecting a Biden win there. Other cable outlets have refrained from making an official prediction for the Grand Canyon State largely in part due to uncertainty over provisional ballots. Pennsylvania is also seeing a surge in provisional ballots this cycle. 

The number of provisional ballots, which undergo extra scrutiny, has spiked across the country because of rises in mail-in votes.

Confusion still also lingers over roughly 4,000 ballots in Pennsylvania that were sent on or before Nov. 3 but received after Election Day. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that these ballots could be counted if they were received by the Friday deadline, and the Supreme Court ruled they should be segregated, though counting could still continue.

ADVERTISEMENT

None of the five states in question are expected to be officially projected by more media outlets before Saturday given the vote counts’ slow paces, and the Trump campaign has maintained it retains paths to victory. 

Biden noted voters' anxiety over the vote count, urging Americans to have patience and dismissing the Trump campaign's efforts to enlist the courts in its effort to stop tallying ballots.

“We have to remain calm, patient, let the process work out as we count all the votes,” he said. “Democracy works. Your vote will be counted. I don’t care how hard people try to stop it, I will not let it happen.”