PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) — Pennsylvania voters have made the Scranton native the next president of the United States. CBS News projects Joe Biden has won the Keystone State and its crucial 20 electoral votes over President Donald Trump to put him past the 270 threshold needed for the White House.
Biden won the presidency after receiving the most votes in American history at over 74 million. He will be inaugurated as the 46th president in January.
America, I’m honored that you have chosen me to lead our great country.
The work ahead of us will be hard, but I promise you this: I will be a President for all Americans — whether you voted for me or not.
I will keep the faith that you have placed in me. pic.twitter.com/moA9qhmjn8
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) November 7, 2020
It all came down to the hotly contested battleground state of Pennsylvania in the end as Biden was able to regain the commonwealth after it narrowly went to Trump in 2016. Biden was also able to pick up Michigan and Wisconsin and regain the “blue wall” that was lost to Trump in 2016.
The 77-year-old Biden was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and sought to contrast his working-class roots with the affluent Trump’s by casting the race as “Scranton versus Park Avenue.”
Biden’s victory came after more than three days of uncertainty as election officials sorted through a surge of mail-in votes that delayed the processing of some ballots.
In a statement, President-elect Biden says it’s “time for America to unite.”
“I am honored and humbled by the trust the American people have placed in me and in Vice President-elect Harris. In the face of unprecedented obstacles, a record number of Americans voted. Proving once again, that democracy beats deep in the heart of America. With the campaign over, it’s time to put the anger and the harsh rhetoric behind us and come together as a nation. It’s time for America to unite. And to heal. We are the United States of America. And there’s nothing we can’t do, if we do it together,” Biden said.
Shortly after the news broke, Sen. Kamala Harris tweeted a video of her on the president-elect saying “We did it, @JoeBiden.”
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) November 7, 2020
On the other side, Trump refused to concede the election to Biden and says his legal team will take their case to court on Monday.
“Beginning Monday, our campaign will start prosecuting our case in court to ensure election laws are fully upheld and the rightful winner is seated. The American People are entitled to an honest election: that means counting all legal ballots, and not counting any illegal ballots. This is the only way to ensure the public has full confidence in our election. It remains shocking that the Biden campaign refuses to agree with this basic principle and wants ballots counted even if they are fraudulent, manufactured, or cast by ineligible or deceased voters. Only a party engaged in wrongdoing would unlawfully keep observers out of the count room – and then fight in court to block their access,” Trump said in a statement.
Four years ago, Trump breached the Democrats’ “blue wall,” narrowly winning Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin — a trio of Great Lakes states that had long served as a bulwark against Republican presidential candidates.
On Saturday, Democrat Joe Biden captured it back — and also won the presidency — after CBS News and The Associated Press declared the former vice president the winner of his native Pennsylvania at 11:25 a.m. EST.
The AP called the race for Biden, who held a 30,952-vote lead after it determined that the remaining ballots left to be counted would not allow Trump to catch up. The news agency has already declared Biden the winner in both Michigan and Wisconsin.
Under Pennsylvania law, a recount is automatic when the margin between two candidates in a statewide race is less than 0.5 percentage points. Biden’s lead over Trump was on track to stay outside of that margin as final votes are counted.
There are roughly 62,000 mail ballots remaining to be counted. Biden has won the overwhelming majority of mail-in ballots cast in the state.
Biden’s win in Pennsylvania was a dramatic, though not unexpected, turn after Trump jumped out to an early Election Day lead of 675,000 votes and prematurely declared he had won the state.
Over the coming days, as local elections officials tabulated more ballots, Trump’s lead dropped sharply, with Biden winning roughly 75 percent of the mail-in vote between Wednesday and Friday, according to an analysis by the AP.
Another reason the late-breaking mail vote broke Biden’s way: under Pennsylvania state law, elections officials are not allowed to process mail-in ballots until Election Day.
Biden, who was born in Scranton, claims favorite-son status in the state and has long played up the idea that he was Pennsylvania’s “third senator” during his decades representing neighboring Delaware. He’s also campaigned extensively in the state from his home in Delaware.
The Trump campaign and the Republican Party mounted several legal challenges to aspects of the vote count, contending, for example, that GOP election observers were kept too far away from the tabulation in Philadelphia, that some Democratic-leaning counties unfairly allowed people to fix technical problems with their mail-in ballots, and that mail-in ballots arriving after Tuesday should not be counted.
Trump scored one legal victory as intermediate state appeals court on Thursday granted more access to party and candidate observers, allowing them to get closer — six feet away — to election workers processing mail-in ballots in Philadelphia.
The city filed an appeal with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, citing concerns over worker safety and the potential for intimidation.
The Trump campaign had sued after complaining that its observer could not get close enough to election workers to see the writing on mail-in ballot envelopes, to ensure that the envelope contains a signature and an eligible voter’s name and address.
Ballots without that kind of information could be challenged or disqualified. A Philadelphia judge had turned down the Trump campaign’s complaint, saying that observers are allowed by law to watch, not audit.
As ballots continued to be counted inside of the Pennsylvania Convention Center Thursday, it got quite heated outside with Trump supporters on one side chanting, “Four more years!” and Joe Biden supporters chanting “Count every vote!”
Democratic Gov. Wolf accused Republicans of seeking to undermine confidence in the election results, and his elections chief said the state has acted legally and properly to ensure a complete and accurate count. More than 2.6 million mail-in ballots were cast, and there has been no report of fraud or any other problem with the accuracy of the count.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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