WILMINGTON/WASHINGTON – Democrat Joe Biden said on Wednesday he was headed toward a victory over President Donald Trump in the U.S. election after claiming the pivotal Midwestern states of Wisconsin and Michigan, while the Republican incumbent opened a multi-pronged attack on vote counts by pursuing lawsuits and a recount.
Wisconsin and Michigan were giving Biden, the former vice president who has spent five decades in public life, a critical boost in the race to the 270 electoral votes in the state-by-state Electoral College needed to win the White House. Trump won both states in his 2016 election victory. Losing them would narrow his path to securing another four years in office.
“And now after a long night of counting, it’s clear that we’re winning enough states to reach (the) 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency,” Biden, appearing with his running mate Kamala Harris, said in his home state of Delaware. “I’m not here to declare that we’ve won. But I am here to report that when the count is finished we believe will be the winners.”
Trump’s campaign asked to intervene in a pending U.S. Supreme Court case over whether Pennsylvania, another key state that was still working its way through hundreds of thousands of mail-in ballots, should be permitted to accept late-arriving ballots sent by Election Day.
His campaign also said it would request a recount in Wisconsin and added that it had filed lawsuits in Michigan and Pennsylvania seeking to halt vote counting, arguing that officials had failed to allow fair access to counting sites.
Taken together, Trump’s legal manoeuvers amounted to a broad effort to contest the results of an election yet to be decided a day after millions of Americans went to the polls during the coronavirus pandemic that has upended daily life. They followed Trump’s early-morning attacks on the integrity of the vote, as the president falsely claimed victory and suggested without substantiation that Democrats would try to steal the election.
Biden said, “Every vote must be counted. No one’s going to take our democracy away for us, not now, not ever. America’s come too far, America’s fought too many battles, America has endured too much to ever let that happen.”
Trump is trying to avoid becoming the first incumbent U.S. president to lose a re-election bid since George H.W. Bush in 1992. (Reuters)