Royal Oak Tribune

STILL WAITING

Biden wins Michigan, Wisconsin; steps closer to White House

- By Jonathan Lemire, Zeke Miller, Jill Colvin And Alexandra Jaffe

Joe Biden won the battlegrou­nd prizes of Michigan and Wisconsin on Wednesday, reclaiming a key part of the “blue wall” that slipped away from Democrats four years ago and dramatical­ly narrowing President Donald Trump’s pathway to reelection.

A full day after Election Day, neither candidate had cleared the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the White House. But Biden’s victories in the Great Lakes states left him at 264, meaning he was one state away — any state — from crossing the threshold and becoming president- elect.

Biden, who has received more than 71 million votes, the most in history, was joined by his running mate Kamala Harris at an afternoon news conference and said he now expected to win the presidency, though he stopped short of outright declaring victory.

“I will govern as an American president,” Biden said. “There will be no red states and blue states when we win. Just the United States of America.”

It was a stark contrast to

Trump, who early Wednesday morning falsely proclaimed that he had won the election, even though millions of votes remained uncounted and the race was far from over.

The Associated Press called Wisconsin for Biden after election officials in the state said all outstandin­g ballots had been counted, save for a few hundred in one township and an expected small number of provisiona­l votes.

Trump’s campaign requested a recount, in addition to filing lawsuits in Pennsylvan­ia and Michigan. Statewide recounts in Wisconsin have historical­ly changed the vote tally by only a few hun

dred votes; Biden led by 0.624 percentage point out of nearly 3.3 million ballots counted.

For four years, Democrats had been haunted by the crumbling of the blue wall, the trio of Great Lakes states — Pennsylvan­ia is the third — that their candidates had been able to count on every four years. But Trump’s populist appeal struck a chord with white working class voters and he captured all three in 2016 by a total of just 77,000 votes.

Both candidates this year fiercely fought for the states, with Biden’s everyman political persona resonating in blue collar towns while his campaign also

pushed to increase turnout among Black voters in cities like Detroit and Milwaukee.

Pennsylvan­ia remained too early to call Wednesday night.

It was unclear when or how quickly a national winner could be determined after a long, bitter campaign dominated by the coronaviru­s and its effects on Americans and the national economy. But Biden’s possible pathways to the White House were expanding rapidly.

After the victory in Wisconsin and Michigan, he held 264 Electoral College votes, just six away from the presidency. A win in any state, including Nevada with its six votes, would be enough to end Trump’s tenure in the White House.

Trump spent much of Wednesday in the White House residence, huddling with advisers and fuming at media coverage showing his Democratic rival picking up key battlegrou­nds. Trump falsely claimed victory in several key states and amplified unsubstant­iated conspiracy theories about Democratic gains as

absentee and early votes were tabulated.

Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien said the president would formally request a Wisconsin recount, citing “irregulari­ties” in several counties. And the campaign said it was filing suit in Michigan and Pennsylvan­ia to halt ballot counting on grounds that it wasn’t given proper access to observe.

At the same time, hundreds of thousands of votes were still to be counted in Pennsylvan­ia, and Trump’s campaign said it was moving to intervene in the existing Supreme Court litigation over counting mail-in ballots there.

Yet, the campaign also argued that it was the outstandin­g votes in Arizona that could reverse the outcome there, showcasing an inherent inconsiste­ncy with their arguments.

In other closely watched races, Trump picked up Florida, the largest of the swing states, and held onto Texas and Ohio while Biden kept New Hampshire and Minnesota and flipped Arizona, a state that had reliably voted Republican in recent elections.

The unsettled nature of the presidenti­al

race was ref lective of a somewhat disappoint­ing night for Democrats, who had hoped to deliver a thorough repudiatio­n of Trump’s four years in office while also reclaiming the Senate to have a firm grasp on all of Washington. But the GOP held on to several Senate seats that had been considered vulnerable, including in Iowa, Texas, Maine and Kansas. Democrats lost House seats but were expected to retain control there.

The high- stakes election was held against the backdrop of a historic pandemic that has killed more than 232,000 Americans and wiped away millions of jobs.

The candidates spent months pressing dramatical­ly different visions for the nation’s future, including on racial justice, and voters responded in huge numbers, with more than 100 million people casting votes ahead of Election Day. Trump, in an extraordin­ary move from the White House, issued premature claims of victory — which he continued on Twitter Wednesday — and said he would take the election to the Supreme Court to stop the counting.

It was unclear exactly what legal action he could try to pursue.

 ?? PAUL SANCYA — THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ?? Democratic presidenti­al candidate Joe Biden arrives to speak to supporters Wednesday in Wilmington, Del., as Jill Biden looks on.
PAUL SANCYA — THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Democratic presidenti­al candidate Joe Biden arrives to speak to supporters Wednesday in Wilmington, Del., as Jill Biden looks on.

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