Biden: ‘We’re going to win this race’

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) address the nation at the Chase Center in Wilmington on Friday night. TNS photo

WILMINGTON — Joe Biden is on the precipice, but Americans will have to wait a little longer for the Democratic presidential nominee to officially claim victory. After a long wait Friday, Mr. Biden briefly took the stage inside the Chase Center on the Riverfront around 10:45 p.m., urging patience while projecting optimism.

“We don’t have a final declaration of victory but the numbers tell us a clear and convincing story: We’re going to win this race,” he said, appearing on stage with running mate U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris.

Mr. Biden noted Georgia and Pennsylvania recently flipped to him, while also pointing out he has received more votes than any other presidential candidate in American history.

“The people spoke, more than 74 million Americans, and they spoke loudly for our ticket,” he said.

Despite boasts and threats from President Donald Trump, it’s become clear a victory for Delaware’s favorite adopted son is almost inevitable at this point. As more ballots are counted and results officially reported, Mr. Biden continues to build his lead and now is poised to claim the presidency.

Though major news outlets have still not called the race and Republican lawsuits and at least one recount are looming, it appears to be only a matter of time until the former vice president and longtime U.S. senator from Delaware hits 270 electoral votes.

“I’ll work as hard for those who voted against me as those who voted for me. That’s the job,” Mr. Biden said, citing serious problems of COVID-19, climate change and the economy.

Excitement was in the air in Wilmington Friday, as people gathered in hopes of celebrating a history-making event. Normal Riverfront foot and vehicle traffic passed through the area, but the scene was distinctly different from a typical day. As darkness fell, a crowd stretching deep into the night waited outside the barriers set up around the parking lots at the Riverfront.

Some attendees wore shirts proclaiming their allegiance to the Democratic nominee, while others carried signs, and a few had masks touting the duo of Mr. Biden and vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris. The crowd occasionally broke out into chants, with bellows of “Bi-den! Bi-den!” echoing through the area.

Blue and gold balloons floated above the barriers, and several dozen red, white and blue cars were arranged in front of the giant outdoor stage. A giant American flag hanging from two cranes flew overhead, and floodlights projecting “Biden-Harris” onto the Westin hotel helped set the scene.

Media, campaign staff and security milled around the Westin, with some reporters camped out in the lobby, waiting and waiting to see if Mr. Biden would claim victory. He was prepared to give a celebratory speech if he hit the magic threshold of 270 electoral votes, but as 10 p.m. approached, it became clear that would not happen Friday.

He could still claim victory as soon as today.

For Chris Coons, a Democrat serving as Delaware’s junior member of the Senate, hearing the words “President Biden” are enough to trigger goosebumps.

“I literally, I have to tell you, I think I will cry tears of joy when he is ultimately clearly the president-elect,” he said Friday night.

Sam Hoff, a professor of history and political science at Delaware State University, noted earlier in the day the positive impact a Biden presidency could have on Delaware. Members of the state’s congressional delegation will have a direct line to the White House, and the state could see a boost in tourism.

Delaware will continue to receive attention from national media for at least the next four years, especially if Mr. Biden opts to spend time at his Wilmington home on occasion, he said.

The excitement could also drive some Delawareans toward politics and provide a boost in voter registration for Democrats, Dr. Hoff speculated.

In the meantime, though, Delawareans, just like hundreds of millions of their brethren across the country, wait with bated breath for Mr. Biden to assume the mantle of the nation’s 46th president-elect.

Electoral College status

A handful of states remained in play Friday evening — Georgia, North Carolina too early to call along with Pennsylvania and Nevada. In all four states the margins between Trump and Biden were too narrow and the number of ballots left to be counted too great for the AP to declare a victor.

In Pennsylvania, officials were not allowed to begin processing mail-in ballots until Election Day under state law. In Nevada, there were a number of provisional ballots cast by voters who registered on Election Day, and officials had to verify their eligibility. And recounts could be triggered in both Pennsylvania and Georgia.

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 there were 102,541 more mail ballots that needed to be counted, including many from Allegheny County, a Democratic area that is home to Pittsburgh, and the Democratic stronghold of Philadelphia County.

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

This article contains information from the Associated Press.