Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden took the lead over President Donald Trump in the battleground states of Pennsylvania and Georgia for the first time on Friday, putting him on the verge of winning the White House.
Three days after polls closed, Biden has a 253 to 214 lead in the state-by-state Electoral College vote that determines the winner, according to Edison Research. Winning Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes would put the former vice president over the 270 he needs to secure the presidency.
Biden would also win the election if he prevails in two of the three other key states where he held narrow leads on Friday: Georgia, Arizona and Nevada. Like Pennsylvania, all three were still processing ballots on Friday.
In both Pennsylvania and Georgia, Biden overtook Trump on the strength of mail-in ballots that were cast in urban Democratic strongholds like Philadelphia and Atlanta.
With his re-election chances fading, Trump escalated his baseless attacks on the results, appearing at the White House on Thursday evening to falsely claim the election was being “stolen” from him. His campaign is pursuing a series of lawsuits across battleground states that legal experts described as unlikely to succeed in altering the election outcome.
The campaign’s general counsel, Matt Morgan, asserted in a statement on Friday that the elections in Georgia, Nevada and Pennsylvania all suffered from improprieties and that Trump would eventually prevail in Arizona.
“This election is not over,” he said. “Biden is relying on these states for his phony claim on the White House, but once the election is final, President Trump will be re-elected.”
Election officials in those states have said they are unaware of any irregularities.
In Pennsylvania, Biden moved ahead of Trump by 5,587 votes on Friday morning, while in Georgia, he opened up a 1,097-vote lead. Both margins were expected to grow as additional ballots were tallied.
Biden, 77, would be the first Democrat to win Georgia since Bill Clinton in 1992.
In Arizona, Biden’s lead had narrowed on Thursday to about 47,000 votes, and in Nevada he was ahead by about 11,500.
Pennsylvania, one of three traditionally Democratic states along with Michigan and Wisconsin that handed Trump his 2016 victory, had long been seen as crucial to the 2020 race, and both candidates lavished enormous sums of money and time on the state.
As the country held its breath for a result in the White House race, Georgia and Pennsylvania officials expressed optimism they would finish counting on Friday, while Arizona and Nevada were still expected to take days to complete their vote totals.