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The Associated Press has declared former Vice President Joe Biden the projected winner of the 2020 presidential election after a decisive electoral victory in Pennsylvania, a state won by President Donald Trump in 2016, which pushed the former vice president past the 270 electoral college votes needed to win.
The victory comes after a marathon of vote counting in several major swing states that lasted well into Saturday morning.
Last night, prior to the projection from the Associated Press, Biden addressed the nation from his home state of Delaware, conveying a message of unity.
“My responsibility as president will be to represent the whole nation,” Biden said. “And I want you to know that I’ll work as hard for those who voted against me as those who voted for me, that’s the job, that’s the job, it’s called the duty of care for all Americans.”
Biden repeated that message on Saturday morning in a tweet where he said that he will be a “President for all Americans — whether you voted for me or not.”
Just days ago, Trump led Biden in Pennsylvania after it had completed counting in-person ballots from Election Day. Biden began narrowing that margin, though, after the state began processing absentee ballots, which take longer due to the extra steps involved in counting them -- such as signature verification and physically opening the envelope they arrived in.
According to Pennsylvania state law, elections officials could not begin counting absentee ballots until Election Day, contributing to delays in the counting process.
By early Friday morning, Biden overtook Trump’s lead in Pennsyvania by several hundred votes, a lead that has since expanded to 34,000 votes with over 99% of the estimated vote in.
The victory in Pennsylvania followed major victories in Arizona, as well as the rust belt states of Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin -- the latter two were nabbed by Trump in 2016, obliterating the so-called “Blue Wall,” a collection of midwest states which had reliably voted for Democratic candidates since 1988 until 2016.
Biden also took a surprising, albeit razor thin, lead in the typically ruby-red state of Georgia, which has not voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since it voted for Bill Clinton’s first term as president in 1992.
On Friday, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger told reprorters in a press conference that the state will likely head to a recount before it can certify the vote there.
In Georgia, candidates must be within half a percentage point of each other to trigger a recount. Currently, Biden and Trump are in a statistical tie with both garnering 49.4% of the vote with over 98% of the vote counted, according to the Associated Press.
Senator Kamala Harris, who ran on the Democratic tickets as Biden’s running-mate, will also make history, becoming the first female vice president of the United States and the first person of color to serve in the role.
Biden and Harris’ victory comes just one day after President Donald Trump made false claims of election fraud in a televised address from the White House press briefing room, prompting every major television network except CNN to take the unprecedented step of removing Trump from their airwaves.
“Democrat officials never believed they could win this election honestly, I really believe that,” the president said, offering no evidence or facts to back his claims. “That’s why they did the mail-in ballots, where there’s tremendous corruption and fraud going on.”
Since Election Day, Trump’s campaign has filed several lawsuits to stop the counting of votes in Nevada, Pennsylvania and Georgia -- all states where Biden leads -- and has expressed its intent to file for a recount in Wisconsin, where Biden leads by about 20,000 votes, just 2,000 votes under Trump’s margin when he defeated former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton there in 2016.
On Wednesday, a state judge in Michigan dismissed a case brought by the Trump Campaign to attempt to stop the counting of votes to allow Republican officials more access to absentee ballots.
Trump will now become the eleventh president to have run for reelection and failed to secure a second term, the first to join the list since George H.W. Bush lost his reelection campaign to Bill Clinton in 1992.
Biden will now become the 46th president of the United States just eight years after he left the White House as vice president to former President Barack Obama.
On Monday morning prior to several networks calling the election for Biden, Trump tweeted “I WON THIS ELECTION, BY A LOT,” a claim that he offered no evidence to back.
Nicholas Kerr can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find him on Twitter @nickdotkerr.