ATLANTA — The presidential race in Georgia is so close that a recount is inevitable, Georgia’s secretary of state said on Friday.
As of Saturday morning, Joseph R. Biden Jr. led President Trump in Georgia by more than 7,000 votes.
“With a margin that small, there will be a recount in Georgia,” the secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, said on Friday at the state Capitol.
He added: “The final tally in Georgia at this point has huge implications for the entire country. The stakes are high and emotions are high on all sides. We will not let those debates distract us from our work. We will get it right, and we will defend the integrity of our elections.”
Gabriel Sterling, an official with the secretary of state’s office, said that a pool of about 4,200 ballots — most of them absentee ballots — remained to be tallied in four counties: Floyd, Cobb, Cherokee and Gwinnett, where the largest tranche is to be counted and which contains Atlanta suburban communities that have gone from leaning Republican to leaning Democratic in recent years.
The state must also deal with ballots from military and overseas voters, which will be counted if they arrived in the mail before the end of business on Friday and were postmarked by Tuesday.
Mr. Sterling said that the unofficial tally of the votes could be completed by the end of the weekend.
Flipping Georgia, a state last won by a Democrat in 1992, and where Mr. Trump won by more than 200,000 votes four years ago, would represent a significant political shift this year. The state has shown signs of trending blue, and when Mr. Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in the state in 2016, he did so by five percentage points, a far slimmer margin than Republicans had enjoyed in previous presidential elections.
Stacey Abrams, who earlier this year was on the Biden campaign’s short list of potential vice-presidential candidates, was celebrated as Mr. Biden took the lead on Friday, a sign of her remarkable ascent as a power broker since her failed bid for governor of that state in 2018.
Celebrities, activists and voters across Georgia credited Ms. Abrams with building a well-funded network of organizations that highlighted voter suppression in the state and inspired an estimated 800,000 residents to register to vote.
Ms. Abrams declined to comment on Friday. But in a tweet, she wrote, “My heart is full” and cited the work of other activists.