After major wins for Joe Biden on Wednesday when the Fox News Decision Desk projected that he will win in Wisconsin and Michigan — two states where President Trump came out on top in 2016 — the Democratic nominee sits at 264 electoral votes, needing just one more state to win the White House.
Trump currently has 214 electoral votes in his column.
With his team expressing optimism in his path Wednesday, Biden confidently said that he was “not here to declare that we won,” but to “report that when the count is finished, we believe we will be the winners.”
Striking a presidential tone, Biden said he would govern as an “American president” and that once the dust is settled from the election he plans “to lower the temperature, to see each other again, to listen to one another, to hear each other again, to unite and heal, to come together as a nation.”
Meanwhile, Trump is at 214 electoral votes and claiming victory in a handful of states where either the result is not yet clear or the Fox News Decision Desk has projected that Biden will win.
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“We have claimed, for Electoral Vote purposes, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (which won’t allow legal observers) the State of Georgia, and the State of North Carolina, each one of which has a BIG Trump lead,” the president said in a tweet. He added that he is claiming Michigan conditioned on confirmation that “there was a large number of secretly dumped ballots,” a claim that was walked back by the person whose tweet inspired an earlier Trump post on the matter.
Fox News has confirmed a discrepancy in Michigan returns, which is apparently what Trump was citing in his tweet, was the result of a typo by one clerk that was quickly corrected.
And Trump’s team is claiming that Republicans in a handful of key states are being blocked from “meaningful access” to observe the elections workers counting ballots. Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani claimed that ballots in Philadelphia could “be from Mars as far as we’re concerned.”
Sen. Chris Coons. D-Del., a Biden surrogate, said that the claims by Giuliani and the Trump team “smack of desperation.”
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The Trump team has also filed lawsuits to stop vote-counting in Pennsylvania and Michigan over their objections regarding “meaningful access,” and said it will request a recount in Wisconsin. In Georgia, the Trump team filed a lawsuit alleging that a GOP poll observer saw that late absentee ballots were being added to others that were received on time.
The Trump team is also set to announce a lawsuit in Nevada later Thursday morning as it alleges that at least 10,000 people who voted in Nevada no longer reside there. Trump backer and former Acting Director of National Intelligence Ric Grenell — who currently serves as the Special Presidential Envoy for Serbia and Kosovo Peace Negotiations — will lead a press conference in North Las Vegas.
With the presidential race still undecided, the emerging results in the four key states of Pennsylvania, Nevada, North Carolina and Georgia will swing the race one way or another. Trump needs to sweep all four states while a win for Biden in any of them would give him at least 270 electoral votes, the number needed to win the presidency.
Nevada, where 75% of results were reported as of early Thursday morning, is the only state where Biden leads as of Thursday morning. He is ahead of Trump by just under 8,000 votes, which comes to slightly more than one half of one percent.
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The Elections Division of the Nevada Secretary of State said on Wednesday it would report further results at 9 a.m. local time on Thursday. The ballots yet to be counted in Nevada, the Elections Division said, are mail ballots that were received on Election Day, mail ballots sent by Election Day but received later, and provisional ballots. Generally throughout the country, those kinds of votes have swung toward Biden.
In Georgia, nearly all ballots are in with 99% reporting as of Thursday morning and Trump holds a lead of just under 20,000 votes, less than one half of one percent. The Fox News Decision Desk, however, has not yet called the race in favor of Trump.
“Officials in numerous counties are continuing to count ballots, with strong security protocols in place to protect the integrity of our election,” Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said in a statement. “We have long anticipated – and said publicly – that counting would most likely take place into Wednesday night and perhaps Thursday morning. We’re on pace to accomplish that responsibly, ensuring that the voice of every eligible voter is heard. It’s important to act quickly, but it’s more important to get it right.”
He added: “I want to assure Georgia voters that every legal vote was cast and accurately counted.”
The situation is similar in North Carolina. Trump is holding a small lead of about 1.4% with 94% of votes reported. Trump’s lead equates to just over 75,000 votes.
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North Carolina allows mail ballots sent by Election Day to be received up to nine days later. This means there may be more ballots yet to be counted in the state, according to North Carolina State Board of Elections Executive Director Karen Brinson Bell.
“There are also no more ballots that can be cast for this election. All eligible ballots have already left the voter’s hands,” she said.
Bell also alluded that it may take some time before additional results are able to be reported in the state, noting that with “very few exceptions would North Carolina’s numbers move before the 12th or the 13th.”
But with the nature of Trump’s lead in the state it is possible — but not guaranteed — that with slightly more information, media organizations could be able to make a projection in the presidential race in that state.
Alaska, for a dearth of data, has yet to be called. But Trump, in the 50% of votes counted as of Thursday morning, holds a significant lead.
Finally, in Pennsylvania, where the Trump team leveled its most serious accusations of election-related hijinx — but did not name any specific examples of ballot irregularities — Trump continues to lead as of Thursday morning by over 135,000 ballots. That lead is smaller than the lead the president held even hours earlier on Thursday.
But because Pennsylvania was unable to start counting its massive stack of mail ballots, which were requested in significantly larger numbers by Democrats than Republicans, until Tuesday morning, the result in the state is still up in the air.
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As of Thursday morning, 87% of ballots in the state are reported and significant numbers of ballots remain to be counted in several counties. These include Democratic strongholds like Philadelphia, but also many rural counties that are leaning toward Trump.
Notably, Allegheny County, which encompasses Pittsburgh and is leaning heavily for Biden as of Thursday morning, is reporting just 81% as of Thursday morning.
“In Pennsylvania, every vote is going to count,” Gov. Tom Wolf said Wednesday evening. “I’m going to fight like hell to protect the vote of every Pennsylvania. And I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure that every vote counts, because in Pennsylvania, every voice matters.”
Republicans, meanwhile, have slammed Democrat officials like Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar and Attorney General Josh Shapiro in Pennsylvania over alleged bias.
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“To have this kind of stuff going on at the 11th hour is unconscionable. So we have a totally lack of faith in her ability to do her job and to do it fairly,” Pennsylvania Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, a Republican, said in calling for Boockvar to resign. Corman specifically panned last-minute changes in guidance on so-called “naked” ballots from Boockvar’s office to local elections officials.
“We believe every legal vote should count,” Corman said, specifically noting that there is not a result in the presidential election. “I think the governor should ask her to step aside so that the people of Pennsylvania can have confidence in the integrity of this election, whether it’s Joe Biden, whether it’s President Trump … all we want to do is have confidence in the result.”
If Trump manages to pull out victories in North Carolina, Georgia and Nevada, the presidential election is likely to come down to the result in Pennsylvania, which may not be decided for days or more. And, if Trump’s claims made after 2 a.m. Wednesday as results poured in are to be believed, that state could come down to a Supreme Court case.
Fox News’ Brooke Singman and John Roberts contributed to this report.