Joe Biden has hung on to win Wisconsin, a crucial victory that puts him one step closer to the White House—if nothing major changes in a pending recount.
The Associated Press called the race for Biden at 2:17 p.m. EST, after final ballot counts left Biden with a 20,517-vote lead — 50.3% to 49.7%.
Trump’s campaign isn’t giving up yet, however. Earlier on Wednesday afternoon, Trump’s campaign manager Bill Stepien said the campaign would demand a recount—even though Biden’s margin of victory is likely insurmountable and Stepien’s claims of “irregularities” in the vote count don’t seem to be backed up by reality.
“Despite ridiculous public polling used as a voter suppression tactic, Wisconsin has been a razor thin race as we always knew that it would be,” Stepien said in the statement. “There have been reports of irregularities in several Wisconsin counties which raise serious doubts about the validity of the results. The President is well within the threshold to request a recount and we will immediately do so.”
Trump is well within his rights to demand a recount: any candidate who lost by less than one percentage point in the state may do so. But that doesn’t mean there’s much chance for his success. Recounts usually shift statewide counts by just a few hundred votes, and unless a county made a major mistake in reporting its ballots, that’s unlikely to happen.
Even former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), a close Trump ally, admitted it was a bank shot:
Biden’s apparent win in Wisconsin means he’s on the cusp of the presidency, should his other state leads hold up. The AP has already called Arizona for him, and while votes continue to come in there, it looks like he has the upper hand. He’s also jumped out to a 45,000-vote lead in Michigan, with most of the remaining vote in Democratic-heavy areas.
Trump’s campaign said it had filed a Wednesday afternoon lawsuit attempting to stop the vote count in Michigan, claiming to have “not been provided with meaningful access to numerous counting locations to observe the opening of ballots and the counting process, as guaranteed by Michigan law.” A court spokesperson told VICE News they had not yet seen the paperwork.
Biden also won Nebraska’s Omaha-based congressional district (the state gives an electoral college vote to each district). If those hold, as does a 7,600-vote lead in Nevada, Biden has won exactly the 270 Electoral College votes he needs to be the next president.
Biden still has some other opportunities as well. Pennsylvania continues its slow count, and Biden has cut Trump’s lead down there to under 450,000, with plenty of ballots left to count. Trump is ahead in Georgia, but Democrats remain hopeful that there are enough votes left in metro Atlanta to flip the state Biden’s way.