Joe Biden said he was certain of a resounding victory over President Donald Trump as he inched closer to claiming the White House with an expanding lead in several battleground states though the final outcome remained stalled by the painstaking work of counting ballots.
“We’re going to win this race,” he said Friday night in Wilmington, Delaware. “I want people to know we’re not waiting to get the work done.”
He stopped short of declaring victory and drew a contrast with Trump by urging patience with the slow vote count. He expressed confidence that he would prevail in Pennsylvania, Nevada and Georgia, where he leads.
“We have to remain calm, patient. Let the process work out as we count all the votes. Democracy works. Your vote will be counted,” he said.
Earlier Friday, the Democratic nominee overtook Trump to claim a slim advantage in Pennsylvania, where a victory would push him past the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the presidency. He currently leads nearly 29,000 votes there, according to Associated Press, and the late-counted ballots are overwhelmingly in his favour.
Trump vowed to contest the results and questioned the integrity of the process, without providing evidence of voter fraud.
“We will pursue this process through every aspect of the law to guarantee the American people have confidence in our government,” the president said in a statement issued by his campaign.
As the nation awaited the final outcome, Biden also held close leads in Nevada and Georgia. The former vice president has also won Arizona, according to the Associated Press and Fox News, although his lead there is narrowing as counting continues and other television networks see that race as too close to call.
John Lapinski, who manages race calls for NBC News, made clear that his network was taking a cautious approach to declaring who will win the White House.
“This particular year, there are just so many curveballs that have been thrown our way that we really are taking a little bit more time to make sure that we understand exactly what we’re seeing and analyzing it,” he said.
The prolonged count left voters and markets on edge for the end of a bitter campaign waged under the shadow a sharp economic downturn and the coronavirus pandemic. US stocks registered the biggest weekly increase since April. The S&P 500 fell less than 0.05 per cent in the wake of a four-day rally added more than $1.5 trillion to the value of stocks. The benchmark index climbed 7.3 per cent this week.