Results poured in Tuesday night in the 2020 race for the White House, with President Donald Trump claiming the hotly contested states of Florida, Texas and Ohio, while Democratic nominee Joe Biden won Minnesota and flipped Arizona.
The race is still too close to call
Arizona was the first state of the night that Trump won in 2016 — but lost this time around. The candidates remained locked in a tight race in other key battlegrounds, including Nevada, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, where results remained in flux as election officials processed a historically large number of mail-in votes.
At the end of Election Day, Biden trailed Trump in Michigan and Wisconsin. But as the morning went on, Biden pulled ahead of Trump, first in Wisconsin and then later in Michigan.
This newfound life is due to the late counting of mail-in ballots, which were had been trending far more Democratic.
Emboldened by a renewed path to the White House, the Biden campaign held a news conference at 10 a.m. ET to share how confident they were with where the race was headed.
Trump spent Wednesday morning raging against the counting of absentee ballots after Election Day, which powered Biden's comeback. He accused Democrat-run states of taking away the states he was winning the night before.
Twitter instantly labeled that tweets as misleading.
During their conference, the Biden campaign pushed back on the claims that Democrats were stealing the election from him. They pointed out if officials stopped counting the votes, as Trump has expressed, Biden would have enough to become president-elect.
In the early hours of Nov. 4, Biden's lead in Nevada dwindled to roughly 8,000 votes. According to the Elections Division of the Nevada Secretary of State, Nevada is finished announcing results until Nov. 5 at 9 a.m. local time.
The Associated Press projected that Biden won Minnesota. Biden also claimed other predictable victories. FOX News projected that the former vice president won Colorado and Virginia, two former battlegrounds that have become Democratic strongholds.
Biden also won Hawaii, Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington, New Mexico, New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, Illinois, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia.
Biden won three of Maine’s four electoral votes, which is one of two states that does not use a winner-take-all method of allocating electoral votes, according to the network.
Trump won Iowa, Montana, Texas, Ohio, Florida, Arkansas, Kentucky, Indiana, West Virginia, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, South Carolina, Wyoming, Louisiana, Kansas, Oklahoma, Idaho and Utah, according to FOX News.
In Nebraska, the other state that does not use a winner-take-all method, Trump will win four of the state’s five electoral votes, according to the outlet.
Biden urges patience while Trump touts victory before states are called
After Minnesota was called for him, Biden spoke to a crowd in Delaware where he said he believes he was on track to win the election.
"Your patience is commendable," Biden said speaking to the group of supporters. "We feel good about where we are — we really do," he said. "I'm here to tell you tonight we're on track to win this election."
"Not over until every ballot is counted, but we're feeling good about where we are," he continued.
Despite the race not yet being called, Trump tweeted shortly after Biden’s remarks, writing, “We are up BIG, but they are trying to STEAL the Election. We will never let them do it. Votes cannot be cast after the Polls are closed!”
Twitter flagged the post with a warning that wrote "Some or all of the content shared in this Tweet is disputed and might be misleading about an election or other civic process."
“I will be making a statement tonight. A big WIN!” he wrote in another Tweet.
Later in the night, Trump addressed a crowd of supporters from the White House, where he said, “A vey sad group of people is trying to disenfranchise that group of people, and we will not stand for it, we will not stand for it." The race had not been called by FOX News or the Associated Press.
He added that he and his campaign were “ready to celebrate” adding that "we were winning everything and suddenly it was just called off," claiming without evidence that Democrats were trying to "steal" the election.
Despite Arizona being called for Biden, Trump said there are still more votes to be counted. He claimed victory in states that had yet to be called, saying, “We’ve clearly won North Carolina,” though the winner of the race had not yet been projected.
Though the state had not been called, Trump claimed he was winning Pennsylvania by a "tremendous amount," adding that his campaign is up 690,000 votes in Pennsylvania and that it was "not even close." But Pennsylvania was still tabulating hundreds of thousands of ballots that were sent by mail.
Pennsylvania election officials said full results may not be declared until the end of the week.
"This is a fraud on the American public, this is an embarrassment to our country," Trump said. "Frankly, we did win this election." Despite his claims, however, Trump had not at the time of his comments been named as the overall winner of the election.
Trump said his campaign would go to the Supreme Court to prevent "them finding new ballots at 4:00 in the morning."
Bernie Sanders reacted to Trump’s statements, tweeting, “Let's be clear. This election won't be over when Trump says it's over.”
John Fetterman, lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania, tweeted shortly after Trump’s speech, “We’re gonna count all the ballots in Pennsylvania and see who wins. Thats how every election works.”
Facebook also responded to Trump falsely touting victory in various states that had yet to be called.
“Once President Trump began making premature claims of victory, we started running notifications on Facebook and Instagram that votes are still being counted and a winner is not projected,” the social media company tweeted. “We’re also automatically applying labels to both candidates’ posts with this information.”
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers tweeted in response, “Our clerks and election workers are continuing to do their important work after millions of Wisconsinites cast their ballots to make their voices heard.”
“An election doesn’t end when an elected official says they won—it ends when every vote has been counted,” he added.
Biden, who has urged voters to remain patient as more ballots are counted, tweeted, “It’s not my place or Donald Trump’s place to declare winner of this election. It’s the voters’ place.”
Biden's campaign said it will fight any efforts by Trump's campaign to go to the U.S. Supreme Court to prevent ballots from being tabulated.
In a statement sent before 4 a.m. ET, Wednesday, Biden campaign manager Jen O'Malley Dillon called Trump's statement that he will “be going to the U.S. Supreme Court” and that he wants “all voting to stop” “outrageous, unprecedented and incorrect.”
O'Malley Dillon said the Biden campaign has “legal teams standing by ready to deploy to resist that effort.” And she said, “They will prevail.”
A winner in the presidential race has not been declared yet. There are still hundreds of thousands of votes left to be counted, and the outcome hinges on a handful of uncalled battleground states.
Why Americans won’t know the results immediately
While plenty of Americans voted in person on Nov. 3, more than 102 million people had already voted in the weeks prior. The election, reshaped by the coronavirus pandemic and its economic fallout, as well as a racial reckoning, prompted record early voting across the country both by mail and in-person.
Earlier Tuesday, Biden refused to make any predictions about the outcome of the election, but said he remained “hopeful.”
Speaking to reporters outside a Delaware community center while voting was still underway, Biden said he’s heard from aides that there’s “overwhelming turnout” among young people, women and older Black adults in places like Georgia and Florida.
Biden capped off a day of last-minute campaigning in his hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, and in Philadelphia with a couple of local stops in Wilmington, Delaware. Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris also visited Wilmington, after spending the afternoon campaigning in Michigan.
Meanwhile, Trump called into talk radio shows in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin just hours before polls closed. The president projected confidence that he will win key states like North Carolina and Florida and said he’s expecting a “great” evening.
Trump also visited his campaign headquarters in Virginia where he thanked dozens of staffers working to get him reelected.
“I think we’re going to have a great night, but it’s politics and it’s elections and you never know,” Trump said. “Winning is easy. Losing is never easy,” he said. “Not for me it’s not.”
Biden entered Election Day with multiple paths to victory, while Trump, playing catch-up in a number of battleground states, had a narrower but still feasible road to clinch 270 Electoral College votes.
As the results rolled in, the nation braced for what was to come — and an outcome that might not be known for days. A new anti-scaling fence was erected around the White House, and in downtowns from New York to Denver to Minneapolis, workers boarded up businesses lest the vote lead to unrest.
Early turnout this year consisted of far more Democrats (22 million) than Republicans (15 million), according to U.S. Elections Project data compiled Tuesday. But both parties anticipated a swell of Republican votes on Election Day that could dramatically shift the dynamic.
Traditionally, Republicans have had high turnout in the weeks before Election Day. But Trump has made repeated, unfounded claims this year about the risk of widespread fraud with mail-in voting, while Biden's campaign urged supporters to vote early, whether by mail or in person.
Officials have stressed for months that the vote-counting timeline is expected to be somewhat delayed and that America might not know who won the presidential race on Tuesday night. In 2016, Trump was not declared the winner until early in the morning after Election Day.
This year, the biggest factor that may slow things down is the sheer volume of mail ballots, which take longer to count. In states with established vote-by-mail programs, such as Washington state and Colorado, this processing happens weeks before Election Day.
But several states did not have this system in place before the pandemic and laws on the books prohibited election officials from processing the ballots well in advance of Election Day.
“It’s going to take a while,” Commissioner Ellen L. Weintraub with the Federal Election Commission predicted in August. “There are some states that are very used to it and will be able to count up all the votes very quickly. Other states are not used to having that level of absentee voting.”
“It’s more important to get it right than to get it fast,” Weintraub added.
This story was reported from Cincinnati. The Associated Press contributed.