WASHINGTON — Joe Biden took a slim lead in Pennsylvania and edged ahead Georgia with the fate of the presidency on the line and five closely watched states continuing to count ballots more than two days after polls closed.
The contest in Pennsylvania, which has 20 Electoral College votes, remains too close to call, according to NBC News. A win there would put Biden over the top of the 270 Electoral College votes needed to take the White House.
Biden is leading the Keystone State by about 6,817 votes or one-tenth of a percent, 3,297,591 votes (49.4 percent) to Trump’s 3,290,774 (49.3 percent), with 95 percent of the expected vote in. Many of the remaining ballots come from Democratic-leaning areas.
In Georgia, Biden is up 1,098 votes with 2,449,590 (49.4 percent) to Trump’s 2,448,492 (49.4 percent) and about 8,000 uncounted ballots.
Biden aides and Democratic operatives have already begun tentatively celebrating, with one top adviser telling NBC News the campaign is “thrilled. Campaign staff are elated and confident.”
One Democratic staffer took to Twitter to say, “you’re fired,” cribbing Trump’s catchphrase from “The Apprentice,” while the campaign’s digital director tweeted an image from Star Wars of the Death Star blowing up.
Meanwhile, Trump’s campaign insisted “this election is not over” in a statement Friday morning, arguing the president still had a path to victory in the courts and several key states.
“The false projection of Joe Biden as the winner is based on results in four states that are far from final,” said Matt Morgan, the campaign’s general counsel.
But despite the defiant public posture, some staffers feel deflated, sources said.
There’s apprehension about a days-long wait for a concession that may never come with one source saying the president will fight “to the last second” and another saying, “There’s no talk of conceding.”
As one person close to the White House put it, “Apparently no one’s willing to tell King Lear the truth.”
The Biden campaign projected confidence regardless of whether Trump ever concedes or not.
“The American people will decide this election,” said Biden spokesperson Andrew Bates. “And the United States government is perfectly capable of escorting trespassers out of the White House.”
The unresolved election stoked tensions as voters — who turned out in record numbers — seek resolution of a campaign marked by intensifying polarization and a global pandemic that counts the president among its stricken.
President Donald Trump continues to fight for his re-election by trying to generate unfounded fears about the tabulation process. His campaign filed multiple lawsuits, several of which have already been thrown out, and more are expected. Trump fired off all-capital-letter tweets demanding that officials halt counting and leave ballots uncounted in places where analysts think the remaining votes favor Democrats.
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