Democratic nominee Joe Biden was on the cusp of securing the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency on Saturday as he increased his lead in Pennsylvania and other key battleground states — just as President Trump forged ahead with a legal fight.
As of Saturday morning, Biden held a narrow lead of just 29,000 votes over Trump in Pennsylvania, whose 20 electoral votes would be crucial for either candidate and would seal the race for Biden. The race is also tight in Arizona, Georgia and Nevada, where Biden led as of Saturday morning. President Trump had garnered more ballots in Alaska and North Carolina as of that time.
The Keystone State has been the site of a legal challenge by the Trump campaign over the counting of ballots, with the campaign alleging fraud while objecting to the counting of votes received after 8 p.m. on Election Day.
“Tens of thousands of votes were illegally received after 8 P.M. on Tuesday, Election Day, totally and easily changing the results in Pennsylvania and certain other razor thin states,” Trump tweeted on Saturday
On Friday evening, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito reaffirmed in a ruling that late mail-in ballots, those that arrived after 8 p.m. ET Tuesday and before Friday at 5 p.m. ET, need to be segregated and counted separately as part of such a challenge. Those ballots are currently being included in the count.
Trump and his campaign have alleged there have been other fraud and “shenanigans” connected to the counting of ballots — flagging the surge in votes that Biden has received from mail-in ballots after the election. It has been fighting for, and eventually secured, closer access to the count for observers in Philadelphia.
However, it is yet to produce evidence of a mass voter fraud operation that would have produced the lead Biden currently holds and has seen cases thrown out by judges in a number of swing states as a result.
Meanwhile, in other swing states, Biden’s lead was growing. In Nevada, the advantage for Biden was 22,657 votes. His lead in Georgia, meanwhile, was just 7,245 and heading toward a recount in that state. Trump, meanwhile, continues to lead by a narrow margin in North Carolina.
As Trump has vowed to fight on, Biden positioned himself to claim victory when the race is called.
“We don’t have a final declaration of victory yet but the numbers tell us a clear and convincing story. We’re going to win this race,” Biden said in Wilmington, Del. on Friday night.
Biden highlighted 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’ve made it clear they want the country to come together.”
However, should Biden gain the White House, his room to pass parts of a progressive agenda could be limited. Republicans appear likely to keep control of the Senate — although that will not be known until the results of two Senate runoffs in Georgia.
Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s majority in the House was being cut into by Republicans — leading to finger-pointing between progressives and moderates about who is to blame.