Biden takes the lead in Georgia, simply inches nearer to the White Home

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© Reuters. U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Biden speaks about the 2020 presidential election in Wilmington, Delaware

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By John Whitesides and Joseph Ax

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden took a narrow lead on President Donald Trump in the battlefield state of Georgia early Friday and approached winning the White House in a thrilling competition as a handful of undecided states continue to count votes.

According to most major television networks, Biden has a 253-214 lead in the state electoral college vote to determine the winner. Gaining Georgia’s 16 votes would put the former vice president at the top of the 270 he needs to secure the presidency.

77-year-old Biden would become the next president by winning Pennsylvania or two out of the Georgia, Nevada, and Arizona trio. Trump’s most likely path seems narrower – he must hold onto both Pennsylvania and Georgia, overtaking Biden in either Nevada or Arizona.

Biden was ahead of Trump with 917 votes in Georgia, where counting resumed early Friday.

The Georgia postponement came hours after Trump appeared at the White House to falsely claim that the election was “stolen” from him.

Trump had seen his lead in Georgia, a southern state that had not voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since Bill Clinton’s inauguration in 1992, steadily dwindled as officials pulled off tens of thousands of untold votes, many from Democratic strongholds like Atlanta.

The Georgian Foreign Minister reported late Thursday that around 14,000 ballot papers remained in the state.

The state must also review votes from military personnel and residents from overseas, as well as preliminary ballot papers cast on election day by voters who had problems with their registration or identification.

Biden has steadily lost the leadership of the Republican incumbent in Pennsylvania as well. Its deficit there had shrunk to just more than 18,000 by early Friday, and it was expected to continue to decline as many of the remaining ballots are cast in democratic areas.

Biden had little advantage in Arizona and Nevada either. In Arizona his lead decreased to around 47,000 early Friday and in Nevada he was ahead with around 11,500 votes.

When the country held its breath to score a result in the White House race, Georgia and Pennsylvania officials were optimistic that they would finish counting on Friday, while Arizona and Nevada were likely to take days to complete to complete their vote counts.

TRUMPS REDUCTION PIPES

74-year-old Trump has tried to portray as fraudulent the slow counting of postal ballot papers, which has become increasingly popular due to fears of exposure to the coronavirus through personal votes. As the counts on these ballot papers have been counted, they have undermined the initial strong leads the president had in states like Georgia and Pennsylvania.

In the past, states have taken time after election day to count all votes.

Trump fired several tweets early in the morning on Friday, repeating the complaints he had previously aired at the White House. “I Easily WON the Presidency of the United States with LEGAL VOTES CAST,” he said on Twitter, with no evidence of illegal votes being cast.

Twitter has flagged the post as potentially misleading, which it has done with numerous posts from Trump since Election Day.

In an extraordinary attack on the democratic process, Trump appeared in the White House briefing room on Thursday evening and unfoundedly claimed that the election had been “stolen” from him.

Trump did not provide evidence, lambasted election workers and harshly criticized pre-election polls, which he said should suppress the vote because they favored Biden.

“RIG OF CHOICE”

“You’re trying to rig an election and we can’t let that happen,” said Trump, who spoke in the White House briefing room but asked no questions. Several television channels were cut off during his remarks, and Anker said they needed to correct his statements.

Biden, who asked for patience earlier in the day when the votes were counted, replied on Twitter: “Nobody will take our democracy away from us. Not now, not ever.”

Trump’s incendiary remarks followed a series of Twitter posts the day he called for the vote count to be suspended, despite the fact that he is currently tracking Biden in enough states to give the Democrat the presidency.

Trump’s election campaign, meanwhile, followed a string of lawsuits in several states, despite judges in Georgia and Michigan there quickly rejecting challenges. Legal experts said the cases had little chance of affecting the election result, and Biden campaign chief legal advisor Bob Bauer called them part of a “broader misinformation campaign”.

The tight elections have underscored the nation’s deep political divisions, and if he wins, Biden may also have difficulty governing a deeply polarized Washington.

The Republicans could keep control of the U.S. Senate until there are four indecisive Senate races, including two in Georgia, and they would likely block large parts of its legislative agenda, including expanding health care and tackling climate change.

And even if Biden wins, he will not have been able to deliver Trump the sweeping rejection the Democrats have hoped for, reflecting the deep support the president enjoys despite his tumultuous four-year tenure.

The winner will face a pandemic that has killed more than 234,000 people in the U.S. and left millions more unemployed, even if the country still struggles after months of months of unrest over racial relations and police brutality.

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