Washington, Nov 6 (efe-epa).- Hours before Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden was set to address the nation Friday night, election officials in Pennsylvania reported a growing lead for the former vice president over incumbent Donald Trump, yet the Republican in the White House vowed to “never stop fighting.”
Media tallies show Biden with at least 253 electoral votes, compared with 214 for Trump in the race for president of the United States.
A win in Pennsylvania would lift the Democrat’s total to 273, three more than the 270 electoral votes needed to secure the presidency.
Friday evening, election authorities in the Keystone State said that Biden’s advantage over Trump had increased to 20,000 votes with 96 percent of the ballots counted.
The former vice president leads Trump 49.5 percent to 49.2 percent in Pennsylvania.
All the votes that remain to be counted in Pennsylvania are mail-in ballots, which have been running overwhelmingly in favor of Biden.
The campaign said that Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, would make remarks to supporters in Wilmington, Delaware, around 9.00 pm (02.00 GMT Saturday).
“Joe Biden should not wrongfully claim the office of the President. I could make that claim also. Legal proceedings are just now beginning!,” Trump tweeted Friday evening in what he apparently intended as a pre-emptive strike.
In the wee hours of Wednesday, as votes continued to be counted in a half-dozen states, the incumbent held a press conference to insist that “we already have won” and accuse Democrats of trying to steal the election.
“We want the law to be used in a proper manner, so we’ll be going to the US Supreme Court. We want all voting to stop,” Trump said shortly after 2.30 am Wednesday.
Trump’s lead in Pennsylvania rose to around 750,000 votes on election night.
But that edge evaporated as mail-in votes – favored by Democrats who are generally more concerned than Republicans about maintaining social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic – have been gradually counted.
Nationwide, a record 65 million people voted by mail as total turnout reached an all-time high in numerical terms. As a proportion of eligible voters, participation this year matched a level last seen in 1900.
The Democrat leads Trump in the national popular vote by more than 4 million, and both men exceeded the individual total set by Barack Obama in 2008 with Biden as his running mate.
Trump must win Pennsylvania to have any chance of remaining president for another four years. In 2016, he beat Hillary Clinton there by a margin of just over 40,000 votes.
Biden, however, can prevail even without carrying the Keystone State if he wins both Arizona and Nevada, where he was ahead Friday by margins of 39,000 and 23,000 votes, respectively.
In the southeastern state of Georgia, the difference between the two candidates is so slight that its secretary of state, Brad Raffensberger, said in a press conference Friday that there will be a recount.
“From the beginning we have said that all legal ballots must be counted and all illegal ballots should not be counted, yet we’ve met resistance for this basic principle by Democrats at every turn,” Trump said Friday in a statement issued by his campaign.
“We will continue this process through all aspects of the law, to ensure that the American people have confidence in the government. I will never stop fighting for you and for our country,” he said.
Though some high-profile Republicans echoed Trump’s unsubstantiated accusations of fraud, others chided him for what Sen. Pat Toomey described as “very disturbing” comments.