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Momentum grows for Biden despite lack of projections

Americans awoke Saturday morning to an undecided outcome in the presidential race, even as it became more and more clear that Democrat Joe BidenJoe BidenConfirmation hearing for Biden's DNI pick postponed Biden's Sunday inauguration rehearsal postponed due to security concerns: report Murkowski says it would be 'appropriate' to bar Trump from holding office again MORE is likely to emerge as the winner.

Biden saw his leads grow in the states of Georgia and Pennsylvania, further closing any window for President TrumpDonald TrumpEx-Trump lawyer Cohen to pen forward for impeachment book Murkowski says it would be 'appropriate' to bar Trump from holding office again Man known as 'QAnon Shaman' asks Trump for pardon after storming Capitol MORE to eke out a victory.

Given Biden’s leads in Nevada and Arizona, Trump would need to see the outcomes flip in three of those four states to win, a scenario that is theoretically possible but highly unlikely.

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Glimpses of the growing reality that Biden is likely to win and that Trump is likely to lose could be seen in some of the remarks late Friday by the president’s most vehement supporters.

Fox News host Laura IngrahamLaura Anne IngrahamFox News to revamp daytime programming, replace 7 pm news hour with opinion show Sacking the Capitol proves free speech is in trouble FBI: No evidence antifa involved in Capitol riot MORE said Friday night on her program that is closely watched by the president, the White House and his supporters that while she is “not conceding anything,” if Trump loses, he should admit defeat with “grace and composure.”

“Losing, if that’s what happens, it is awful. But President Trump’s legacy will only become more significant if he focuses on moving the country forward,” she said. “And then, the love and respect his supporters feel for him, it’s only going to grow stronger, and his legacy more historically significant.”

Other Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump seeks to freeze .4 billion of programs in final week of presidency McConnell about to school Trump on political power for the last time Murkowski blasts Trump's election claims, calls House impeachment appropriate MORE (Ky.), who would be his party’s most powerful officeholder if Trump loses, have said all lawful ballots should be counted. McConnell did not back Trump’s unsubstantiated allegation, for example, that the election is being stolen from him.

The Associated Press and major news networks have not projected a winner in the race, a fact frustrating many Democrats who see a Biden victory as inevitable given the current counts.

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But there are real reasons for the networks to be cautious given the highly unusual nature of this election, which has seen record turnout and a huge spike in mail-in ballots because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The nature of the election has led to major shifts in the vote counts. Biden trailed Trump in Pennsylvania by more than half a million votes on Wednesday morning; now, he has a nearly 30,000-vote lead, or about half a percentage point.

More mail-in ballots are set to be counted Saturday, and there are a large number of provisional ballots that also must be counted in the state. Those provisional ballots have historically tilted Democrat, but many are from areas that lean toward Trump, leaving a tinge of uncertainty that has prevented election desks at networks from being confident enough to call the race.

The desks are essentially trying to figure out if Biden’s lead will be insurmountable when those provisional votes are counted, and they are awaiting more data on what the provisional ballots might look like.

A Biden lead above half a percentage point would be significant, as a lead lower than that threshold would mandate a recount.

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Biden could also be projected as the winner if he wins in Arizona and Nevada.

In Arizona, his lead has shrunk to less than 30,000 votes, though it is unclear if Trump can close the gap. Fox News and The Associated Press have called Arizona for Biden, but other major news networks have not.

Biden’s lead in Georgia, a longtime Republican stronghold, widened to more than 7,200 votes overnight, but there will almost certainly be a recount in that state. Speaking at a press conference on Friday, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) spoke of a recount as a virtual inevitability.

Biden projected confidence in public remarks late Friday, while Trump has shown no signs of conceding.

His campaign is preparing for a series of recounts and legal fights challenging the vote counts in several states, falsely alleging widespread voter fraud and accusing state officials of seeking to rig the outcome of the election in Biden’s favor.

While some Republicans have offered staunch criticism of some of the president’s remarks about the vote counting, others have backed him.

Wisconsin state Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R) said on Friday that he would direct the Assembly’s campaigns and elections committee to “review how the election was administered.”

Biden was projected as the winner in Wisconsin on Wednesday morning and leads by about 20,500 votes, or a 0.6 percentage point margin. State law allows candidates to request a recount if a race is decided by 1 percentage point or less. The Trump campaign has asked for a recount.

“With concerns surfacing about mail-in ballot dumps and voter fraud, Wisconsin citizens deserve to know their vote counted,” Vos said in a statement. “There should be no question as to whether the vote was fair and legitimate, and there must be absolute certainty that the impending recount finds any and all irregularities.”

The slow count has led to frustration on both sides, even as state election officials have defended their work and underlined their determination to make sure the result is correct, even if it takes longer to do the count.

In his Friday night address, Biden urged patience while officials finished tallying the ballots but said that the process was “as slow as it goes.”

“As slow as it goes it can be numbing,” he said.