Biden Pulls Ahead In Pennsylvania, Putting Him on Cusp of Victory

Without Pennsylvania, President Trump would have no path to a second term.
Cameron Joseph
Washington, US
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden takes his face mask off as he arrives to speak one day after America voted in the presidential election, on November 04, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden takes his face mask off as he arrives to speak one day after America voted in the presidential election, on November 04, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Joe Biden has overtaken President Trump in Pennsylvania, a state that will give him enough Electoral College votes to be the next president.

Biden moved ahead of Trump in the vote count shortly before 9 a.m. Friday morning, with a lead of more than 5,500 votes. By afternoon, that margin had grown to 13,653 with 112,000 ballots remaining to count, including 35,000 from Democrat-leaning Allegheney County, which includes Pittsburgh.


If Biden’s lead holds up there, he’s the next president.

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The Associated Press has yet to call the race. But he’s been winning the state’s mail vote in dominant fashion, and the remainder of the uncounted ballots are all mail votes — including major troves left in Democrat-rich Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. It’s almost impossible to see how Trump can catch up at this point, and Biden’s lead will likely to continue to grow as all the remaining ballots are counted.

Biden’s apparent win in the state is a sweet turn of events for the Pennsylvania native, whose blue-collar childhood in Scranton has been at the center of his political biography his entire career. 

And it marks a major reversal for Democrats, who saw Trump pull an upset 44,000-vote victory in the state four years ago.

For months, both Democrats and Republicans expected the presidency to be decided in Pennsylvania. Biden and Trump both spent more time campaigning there than in any other state, with Biden spending nearly as much time there as in the rest of the country combined during October.

Biden’s efforts paid off. He improved upon Hillary Clinton’s margins across the state, winning back small pockets of working-class white voters in county after county to chip away at Trump’s margins in the state’s rural areas while improving on her margins in metro Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

It took a long time to get there, though that’s no fault of local election officials. This is the first presidential election that Pennsylvania has allowed all voters to cast their ballots by mail, and the shift was bound to slow things down since it takes a lot longer to process mail ballots. 


And while Trump falsely howls about voter fraud and claims that the election is being rigged against him, it’s because of Republican officials that the count took so long: GOP state legislators refused to allow local officials to start counting mail ballots until Election Day, unlike most other states.

Trump has yet to concede, and has continued to claim the election is being stolen from him. The Trump campaign issued the following statement:

“We believe the American people deserve to have full transparency into all vote counting and election certification, and that this is no longer about any single election. This is about the integrity of our entire election process. From the beginning we have said that all legal ballots must be counted and all illegal ballots should not be counted, yet we have met resistance to this basic principle by Democrats at every turn. We will pursue this process through every aspect of the law to guarantee that the American people have confidence in our government. I will never give up fighting for you and our nation.”

If Republicans fall lockstep behind those claims, the next few weeks could be dicey. But there are signs that isn’t happening, with an increasing number of GOP lawmakers publicly criticizing his attacks on democracy—including Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), who called Trump’s Thursday night speech “hard to watch” and said the president’s voter fraud claims were “just not substantiated.”

Biden also holds leads in Arizona, Nevada, and Georgia, but those become irrelevant if he wins Pennsylvania, which would take him over the 270 electoral college votes he needs to win the presidency.

Assuming current vote counts—and democratic norms—hold, Biden will be the next president. Biden is set to address the nation in a speech from Wilmington, Delaware Friday in primetime.