Democrat Joe Biden’s lead over President Trump is growing in the battleground state of Pennsylvania.

By Friday evening, the Democrat held a lead of over 19,500 votes out of more than 6.5 million ballots cast. That’s an edge of about 0.29%. State law dictates that a recount must be held if the margin between the two candidates is less than 0.5%.

The Associated Press has not declared a winner in the state.

The Pennsylvania secretary of state’s website said Friday that 102,541 more mail ballots had to be counted, including many from Allegheny County, a Democratic area that is home to Pittsburgh, and the Democratic stronghold of Philadelphia County.

Additionally, potentially tens of thousands of provisional ballots remain to be tabulated, though an exact number remained unclear. Those ballots will be counted after officials verify their eligibility to be included.

Biden’s lead grows in Nevada as more results are released

LAS VEGAS — Joe Biden’s lead over President Trump in Nevada grew Friday, putting the former vice president ahead by 22,657 votes in the battleground state.

The results were mail-in ballots from Democrat-heavy Clark County, which includes Las Vegas and three-quarters of Nevada’s population. Biden had 632,558 votes, and Trump had 609,901.

Biden’s lead has doubled from Thursday, when he was ahead of Trump by about 11,000 votes.

Nevada has six Electoral College votes and could be decisive as Biden closes in on the 270 needed to win the White House. It’s too early to call the contest, with votes still being counted.

Clark County Registrar of Voters Joe Gloria walks toward the podium to give an update on ballot counting at the Clark County Election Department in North Las Vegas on Friday. Associated Press/Jae C. Hong

No Republican presidential candidate has carried Nevada since 2004, but it has remained a battleground. Trump narrowly lost the state in 2016.

The fresh batch of results Friday afternoon were among 63,000 mail ballots that Clark County Registrar Joe Gloria said his workers were starting to process earlier in the day. He expected the bulk would be processed by Sunday.

Gloria has said an additional 60,000 provisional ballots will be processed later.

The state said it would provide an update later in the day on how many ballots are yet to be counted statewide. On Thursday, it reported that number at 190,150.

Gloria has said the focus is on accuracy over speed and that the large number of mail-in ballots is new and making the counting process take longer than normal.

The state mailed ballots to all active registered voters this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, a move that the Trump campaign previously challenged, claiming it would lead to fraud.

Twin Senate runoffs in Georgia could shape Biden presidency, if he wins

ATLANTA — The outcome in several contested states will determine whether Joe Biden defeats President Trump. But if the Democratic challenger wins, the ambitions of a Biden presidency could well come down to Georgia.

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Republican U.S. Sen. David Perdue faces a runoff against his Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff  in Georgia. John Bazemore/Associated Press

Georgia, long a Republican stronghold — but one with rapidly changing demographics — could be the site of two runoffs on Jan. 5 to settle which party would control the Senate.

Should Democrats win them, Biden would be dealing with a majority in the Senate, increasing his chances for passing legislation and securing major appointment confirmations. Otherwise, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, could wield the power to block Biden.

In Georgia, two runoff elections would mean a campaign on an almost national scale, with tens of millions of dollars spent by both sides.

Biden has been mum on the Senate balance as he awaits the results in his own election, but he offered a preview days before Tuesday’s election.

“I can’t tell you how important it is that we flip the United States Senate. There’s no state more consequential than Georgia in that fight,” Biden declared at an Atlanta rally on Oct. 27, when he campaigned alongside Democratic Senate hopefuls Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock.

Votes were still being counted to determine whether Ossoff will meet Georgia Sen. David Perdue in a second round. Georgia law requires an outright majority to win a statewide office. After days of counting, Perdue had 49.8 percent of the vote to Ossoff’s 47.8 percent on Friday morning, according to the Associated Press.

Separately, a Georgia special election to fill the unexpired term of former Sen. Johnny Isakson will require a runoff between Warnock and Sen. Kelly Loeffler, the Republican appointed to the post last year after Isakson retired.

Nationally, the Senate stands at 48-48. But Republicans lead uncalled races in Alaska and North Carolina. By Thursday, the focus turned to Georgia.

Read the full story here.

Men with guns arrested near vote counting center in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA — Philadelphia police said they arrested two men Thursday for not having permits to carry the guns they were armed with near the state convention center, where vote counting is ongoing.

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Supporters of President Trump demonstrate on Thursday outside the Pennsylvania Convention Center where votes from Tuesday’s election are being counted. Matt Slocum/Associated Press

Police said they had received information earlier in the day that individuals armed with firearms were on their way to the convention center in Philadelphia in a Hummer truck. The two men arrested acknowledged that the Hummer spotted by officers near the center was their vehicle, police said Friday.

An additional firearm was recovered from inside the vehicle, police said.

Both men will face firearm charges but have not been formally charged yet, police said. Their names had not been released as of Friday morning.

There have been no signs of widespread national unrest connected to the election, although there are fears that prolonged uncertainty over the results could enflame tensions.

On Thursday, groups of Trump supporters gathered at vote tabulation sites in Phoenix, Detroit and Philadelphia, decrying counts that showed Democrat Joe Biden leading or gaining ground. While the protests have not been violent or very large, local officials were distressed by the crowds and concerned about the relentless accusations.

Trump wins white evangelicals, but Catholics split

WASHINGTON — President Trump won support from about 8 in 10 white evangelical Christian voters in his race for reelection, but Catholic voters split almost evenly between him and Democratic opponent Joe Biden, according to AP VoteCast.

Trump’s strong hold on white evangelical voters illustrates the GOP’s enduring success with a bloc of religious conservatives who have been a linchpin of the president’s political base since his 2016 victory. The president’s path to a second term has grown narrower, however, amid a divide among Catholics between Trump and Biden, a lifelong member of the faith.

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A woman waits to vote at the Cathedral of Praise church on Election Day on Tuesday in Nashville, Tenn. Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

AP VoteCast showed 50% of Catholics backing Trump and 49% favoring Biden, reflecting the faith’s longstanding role as a closely contested vote in presidential elections — particularly in Rust Belt battleground states such as Michigan and Wisconsin. Trump won both of those states by less than 1 percentage point in 2016, but Biden prevailed in both this year. The survey of more than 110,000 voters nationwide was conducted for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago.

Ahead of the election, the rival campaigns targeted Catholics with fervent appeals to vote based on their faith. Trump supporters said faithful Catholics should not vote for Biden because of his support for abortion rights, while Biden backers said Trump is too divisive and has failed to elevate social justice issues that are part of Catholic teaching.

Michael Wear, a past faith adviser to former President Barack Obama, said he saw signs that the Biden campaign’s focused outreach to religious voters – which included multiple ads invoking the former vice president’s Catholicism – had paid off. Biden would be just the second Catholic president after John F. Kennedy.

“Biden’s political approach has been vindicated in these results,” said Wear, who helped lead a bipartisan super PAC this fall that aimed to undercut Trump’s Christian support. “He ran because he believed he would not lose the Rust Belt, when the nominee in 2016 did.”

Michael New, an abortion opponent who teaches social research at Catholic University of America, said Trump’s opposition to abortion likely attracted some Catholic voters even if they disagreed with him on other issues.

This year, Catholic voters accounted for 22% of the electorate, and there was a sharp rift within their ranks by race and ethnicity.

Among white Catholics, 57% backed Trump and 42% backed Biden, according to VoteCast. In 2016, Trump won 64% of white Catholics and Clinton won 31%, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of voters.

Among Hispanic Catholics, VoteCast shows 67% backed Biden and 32% backed Trump.

 


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