Former vice president Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, is projected to win the White House, bringing an end to to President Donald Trump’s chaotic tenure atop the United States’ most powerful office.
Trump immediately refused to concede, signalling a bitter court battle in the coming days.
Biden is now projected to win Pennsylvania, giving him 273 electoral college votes – over the 270 majority needed to win the presidency – all three major US networks, ABC, NBC and CBS along with Associated Press news agency project.
The 77-year-old Biden, running his third presidential campaign, pitched himself as a president who will return the country to a state of stability and civility that seems long forgotten after four years of Trump’s pugilistic governance through tweet.
“In the face of unprecedented obstacles, a record number of Americans voted. Proving once again, that democracy beats deep in the heart of America,” Biden said in a statement, declaring that the “campaign is over.”
“It’s time for America to unite. And to heal,” Biden added.
Biden has said he will govern for all Americans despite a divisive presidential campaign that highlighted the country’s fraught state of race relations, economic conditions and handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed over 230,000 people in the US.
His victory will also bring Kamala Harris as vice president, the first woman, first black person and first person of Asian descent to assume the office.
Trump, line with his previous rhetoric, immediately declined to concede to Biden saying the election is “far from over,” and vowing further legal actions. “I will not rest until the American People have the honest vote count they deserve and that Democracy demands.”
Biden’s victory comes after five straight days of vote counting that threw the nation into suspense as the election came down to tens of thousands of votes in a handful of key swing states.
For days results were still too close to call in several states, where crucial mail-in votes are being counted, though Biden was favoured by the tabulations.
Democrats’ hoped-for crushing Biden victory to repudiate four years of divisive rule did not materialize, as over 70 million Americans sided with Trump’s nationalistic and tough-on-crime rhetoric that emphasized reopening the US economy in the face of a pandemic.
Biden still is on track to win the popular vote by over 4 million, possibly 5 million, and he has garnered the most votes of any candidate in US history.
Trump’s leads on election night have vanished as a flood of mail-in votes that leaned towards Biden were counted accross the country.
The Republican has claimed, without proof, that the vote count is being rigged, that there is “major fraud” and that an apparent coalition of “big media, big money, and big tech” was whittling away his early lead.
Numerous election officials, including members of both major parties, have said bluntly that there is no widespread fraud. The changes in the race and the slow count are largely attributable to mail-in balloting amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Before the race was called on Saturday, Trump went on a Twitter rant, with multiple tweets being flagged and restricted by Twitter for spreading disputed information about the election. “I WON THIS ELECTION, BY A LOT!” he wrote.