Election Highlights: Biden Widens Leads in Pennsylvania, Nevada and Georgia, Edging Closer to Victory


Credit…Damon Winter/The New York Times

WILMINGTON, Del. — Joseph R. Biden Jr. stood on the cusp of the presidency on Friday, seizing a lead over President Trump in both Pennsylvania and Georgia and building on his lead in Nevada as he drew ever closer to securing the 270 electoral votes needed to lay claim to the White House.

Mr. Biden, who was winning the popular vote by more than four million votes and has already won 253 electoral votes, had pulled ahead of Mr. Trump in Pennsylvania by more than 21,700 votes by Friday evening. If his lead holds — and it is expected to — the state’s 20 electoral votes would vault him past the threshold to win the election. In Philadelphia, some Biden supporters started dancing in the street outside the convention center, in front of a banner declaring “The People Have Spoken.”

In Georgia, Mr. Biden’s lead was so narrow that state officials said a recount was inevitable. But by Friday evening it had grown to about 4,000 votes.

In Arizona, Mr. Biden maintained his lead as election officials continued to plow through tens of thousands of ballots from Phoenix and its sprawling suburbs. His advantage shrank slightly, but not by as much as Republicans had hoped. In Nevada, Mr. Biden nearly doubled his lead Friday to around 22,600 votes.

Mr. Biden had already begun to project the image of a man preparing to assume the mantle of office on Thursday, meeting with his economic and health advisers to be briefed on the coronavirus pandemic. He also urged the public on Thursday to show a “little patience” as the vote counting in battleground states continued.

“Democracy is sometimes messy,” he said. “It sometimes requires a little patience as well. But that patience has been rewarded now for more than 240 years with a system of governance that’s been the envy of the world.”

Mr. Biden planned to make an address Friday during prime time, a campaign official said. He kept a low profile Friday morning. But outside the Westin Hotel near his home in Wilmington, signs of celebration were afoot. Someone passed out Biden-Harris signs and attached them to a security barrier near a stage bedecked with American flags where Mr. Biden was expected to speak.

Thomas Kunish, 40, of Mechanicsburg, Pa., 100 miles away, said he had driven in to show support with his five-year-old son, spending the night in the car. The last time he voted, he said, was for George W. Bush in 2000.

“It was interesting, the past four years,” Mr. Kunish, who works in the defense industry, said of Mr. Trump’s presidency. “There was hope when he got elected, things maybe would change?” Instead, he said, the Trump administration was marked by “turmoil.” He and his son were hoping to see fireworks Friday night.

Mr. Biden’s appeal to let the process play out contrasted with that of Mr. Trump, who took the lectern in the White House briefing room to falsely claim that the election was riddled with fraud, as part of an elaborate coast-to-coast conspiracy by Democrats, the news media and Silicon Valley to deny him a second term.

As the number of outstanding ballots slowly dwindled, Mr. Trump was left increasingly with only legal challenges to forestall defeat, while Mr. Biden was betting on the steady accumulation of mail-in ballots to keep him on top in Pennsylvania.

Mr. Biden’s wins in the Midwestern battleground states of Michigan and Wisconsin put him in a strong position, with multiple paths to victory, depending on what happens in the states yet to be called. Mr. Trump needed a victory in Pennsylvania.

The process was agonizing for partisans on both sides, though for the most part, fears of widespread unrest did not materialize. Officials reported few instances of problems with the voting-counting process.

The candidates’ differing reactions hinted at how they are likely to handle the coming days and weeks as the counting gives way to legal challenges, calls for recounts and a potentially turbulent transition.

Mr. Biden’s pivot to policy issues seemed intended to create an air of inevitability about his victory. His briefing on the pandemic was a reminder that the United States reported a record 121,200 new infections on Thursday.

Credit…Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

The vote count slowed to a crawl Friday afternoon across the states most likely to decide the presidency, leaving Joseph R. Biden Jr. tantalizingly close to the 270 electoral votes he needs to become president-elect, but without a clear sense of when he might reach that number.

The Keystone State remains Mr. Biden’s clearest path to victory; a win there would be enough to call the entire race in his favor. He slowly built a lead of more than 27,100 votes on Friday, with about 100,000 absentee ballots still to count. He has won more than three-quarters of the absentee votes counted so far.

A quarter of the remaining ballots are in Allegheny County, which includes Pittsburgh, where no ballots were tabulated on Thursday. The county said it would try to count its remaining ballots on Friday, and a new batch of tabulated ballots reportedly coming Friday evening could conceivably bring the networks to call the state — and therefore the election — in Mr. Biden’s favor.

The rest of the ballots are spread across Pennsylvania’s other counties, and it is unclear whether or why the count in those places has slowed. More ballots may come later on Friday, slowly padding Mr. Biden’s edge. Or not.

There’s no obvious path to victory for Mr. Trump in the state, so it is not clear why the networks have not called the state in Mr. Biden’s favor. One possibility is that the networks are waiting, as they often do, for Mr. Biden to build a lead outside the margin of a recount — in Pennsylvania, that is half a percentage point. That level of caution may be particularly appropriate in the case of mail-in ballots, which could conceivably be rejected or segregated.

The networks will also consider the state’s 100,000 or so provisional ballots, cast by people who could not be verified as eligible when they showed up to vote, before making a projection. Typically, these ballots lean overwhelmingly Democratic, but that is at least somewhat complicated by the unusually heavy Republican vote on Election Day this year.

There’s no telling how quickly Mr. Biden will amass a large enough lead for news organizations to call him the winner in Pennsylvania. But he has another path to a victory if Pennsylvania’s count continues to drag out: If he wins both Nevada and Arizona, he does not need Pennsylvania to reach 270 electoral votes.

Mr. Biden already has a nearly two-point lead over Mr. Trump in Nevada, and the outstanding vote — most of it in Clark County, which includes Las Vegas — appears likely to break toward Mr. Biden. The Nevada secretary of state, Barbara Cegavske, said that many of the remaining votes are mail-in ballots, which have so far broken to Mr. Biden by a wide margin. The rest are a mix of provisional ballots and ballots from same-day registrants, which could be more competitive but seem unlikely to help Mr. Trump eat into Mr. Biden’s lead.

The Clark County registrar’s office said Friday that it would release another batch of votes at 7 p.m. Eastern, which might further pad Mr. Biden’s lead.

In Arizona, Mr. Biden leads by roughly 29,860 votes, with about 140,000 votes to count. But it is tight: Mr. Trump will need to win what’s left by approximately 20 percent to overtake Mr. Biden, and he has led by nearly as much in the late count.

Most of the remaining votes are in Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, and the state expects to report many new ballots there at 9 p.m. Eastern. Mr. Biden fared better in this morning’s Maricopa ballots than he did yesterday, perhaps reflecting a gradual shift toward counting ballots that were dropped off on Election Day, which have tended to be more Democratic. If Mr. Biden continues to improve in the count tonight, Mr. Trump’s path to win the state will start to narrow — possibly enough to allow a projection.

Credit…John Amis/Associated Press

Senator David Perdue, Republican of Georgia, was fighting for his political life on Friday in a contest that could determine which party controls the Senate, as his re-election bid headed to a January runoff against Jon Ossoff, his Democratic challenger.

Mr. Perdue had a razor-thin lead over Mr. Ossoff in a contest that demonstrated Democrats’ emerging strength in what was once a Republican stronghold in the Deep South. Neither candidate claimed a majority of votes amid a protracted count, according to The Associated Press.

The inconclusive result set up a dramatic rematch between Mr. Perdue and Mr. Ossoff on Jan. 5, and thrust Georgia into the center of the nation’s political fray as Joseph R. Biden Jr. appeared on track to win the White House. The state had already been slated to decide the fate of its other Senate seat in a special-election runoff between the Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnock, a Democrat, and Senator Kelly Loeffler, a Republican, the same day. That makes it nearly certain that the twin Georgia races will determine which party controls the chamber just two weeks before the next presidential inauguration.

“Change has come to Georgia,” Mr. Ossoff said at a rally on Friday, “and Georgia is a part of the change coming to America.”

If Mr. Biden wins the White House, and Democrats take both of Georgia’s seats, they would draw the Senate to a 50-50 tie, effectively taking control of the chamber, given the vice president’s power to cast tiebreaking votes. But that is a tall order in a state with deep conservative roots, and Republicans felt reasonably confident they could hang onto at least one of the seats needed to deny Democrats the majority.

Two other Senate races, in North Carolina and in Alaska, had not yet been called. But Republicans were leading in both and expected to win, putting them at 50 seats to the Democrats’ 48.

Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

President Trump’s bellicose pledge to fight the outcome of the election in the courts crashed on Friday into skeptical judges, daunting Electoral College math and a lack of evidence for his claims of fraud.

On a day that began with vote tallies in Georgia and Pennsylvania tipping in favor of Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Trump campaign declared, “This election is not over,” as the Republican National Committee announced it had activated “legal challenge teams” in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan and Pennsylvania. The Trump forces also named a new general to lead the effort, the hardened conservative political combatant David Bossie.

But none of the dozen or so lawsuits they had brought in battleground states appeared to be gaining any traction in the courts. And none seemed likely to give Mr. Trump the edge he would need in vote counts in the states that will determine the outcome.

In seeking to foment widespread doubt about the legitimacy of the election, Mr. Trump and his surrogates seemed less focused on substantive legal arguments that could hold up in court, and more on bolstering the president’s political narrative, unsupported by the facts, that he was somehow being robbed of a second term.

The most high-profile step of the day came when Pennsylvania Republicans asked the U.S. Supreme Court to step in and require election officials in the state to segregate ballots that arrived after Election Day and not to include them for now in the vote totals in the largest and most critical of the swing states.

On Friday evening, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. agreed to the request.

But the move was almost entirely for show: Pennsylvania is already segregating those ballots, counting them separately and not including them in the announced vote totals. The secretary of state, over the objections of Republicans and Mr. Trump, has said they can be counted if they arrived by 5 p.m. on Friday, in line with a state court ruling that the Supreme Court has left open the possibility of reviewing again.

Credit…Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

PHILADELPHIA — Joseph R. Biden Jr. took the lead over President Trump in Pennsylvania on Friday morning as Democrats grew increasingly confident that he would win the state and with it the presidency: The state’s 20 electoral votes would put Mr. Biden, who has 253 electoral votes, past the 270-vote threshold for victory.

By Friday evening, after more votes were counted from Philadelphia and other counties that have supported Mr. Biden, he led Mr. Trump by more than 27,100 votes.

Mr. Biden had steadily erased Mr. Trump’s early lead in the state — at one point, the president led by half a million votes — as ballots, mostly absentee and mail-in votes, were counted over the past few days. Most of the remaining uncounted votes in the state are in Democratic-leaning areas.

At a news conference on Friday afternoon, Philadelphia elections officials said that they had about 40,000 ballots left to count in the city.

The remaining ballots “generally fall into one of three categories: those that require a review, provisionals and U.S. military overseas ballots,” said Lisa Deeley, one of the city commissioners in Philadelphia in charge of elections. “I would estimate there’s approximately 40,000 remaining to be counted.”

“We can also tell you that it may take several days to complete the reporting of that,” Ms. Deeley added.

On Thursday, Kathy Boockvar, the Pennsylvania secretary of state, told CNN that the “overwhelming majority” of the state’s remaining votes would be counted by Friday.

Pennsylvania Democratic officials have said their analysis of the uncounted votes gave them confidence that Mr. Biden would win the state by a substantial margin.

“We believe when the votes are counted, it’s pretty clear that Joe Biden’s going to be president of the United States, because he’s going to win Pennsylvania,” said State Senator Sharif Street, the vice chair of the state Democratic Party, on Thursday.

Mr. Trump has baselessly insisted that post-Election Day tallies showing Mr. Biden leading in battleground states, including Pennsylvania, were the result of fraud, and has vowed to challenge them in court. His campaign showed no sign of an imminent concession Friday morning.

“The false projection of Joe Biden as the winner is based on results in four states that are far from final,” a lawyer for the Trump campaign said in a statement.

Mayor Jim Kenney of Philadelphia dismissed those accusations on Friday.

“While some including the President continue to spew baseless claims of fraud, claims for which his team has not produced one iota of evidence, what we have seen here in Philadelphia is democracy, pure and simple,” Mr. Kenney said.

Andrew Bates, a spokesman for the Biden campaign, said that if Mr. Biden won the election and Mr. Trump refused to concede, “The United States government is perfectly capable of escorting trespassers out of the White House.”

Credit…Bridget Bennett for The New York Times

Joseph R. Biden Jr. widened his lead over President Trump in Nevada on Friday from about 11,000 votes to about 22,500, and moved closer to victory there, as his advantage over Mr. Trump grew to 1.8 percentage points.

Nevada has six electoral votes and its entire Election Day vote has been counted; the late mail and provisional ballots that remain lean Democratic. About 9 percent of the state’s votes have yet to be tabulated.

Final results might not be announced until Saturday or Sunday, elections officials have said.

The Trump campaign has already identified Nevada, which allows any losing candidate to request a recount, as one of the battleground states where it hopes to use the courts and procedural maneuvers to stave off defeat in the Electoral College. Less than 24 hours before Election Day, a Nevada judge rejected a lawsuit filed by Republicans who had tried to stop early vote counting in Clark County.

Since Mrs. Clinton beat Mr. Trump in Nevada by 2.4 percentage points in 2016, the state has turned a deeper shade of blue, with Democrats controlling the governor’s office and legislature, both Senate seats and all but one House seat. It was not widely expected to be a battleground state this year.

But while recent polls consistently showed Mr. Biden ahead of Mr. Trump in Nevada, Democrats worried that the pandemic would make it difficult to create a robust election turnout operation. The state has reported more than 104,000 coronavirus cases.

Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

ATLANTA — As former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. took a narrow lead over President Trump in Georgia, Georgia’s secretary of state said Friday that the presidential race there was so close that a recount was inevitable.

As of Friday evening, Mr. Biden led Mr. Trump in Georgia by about more than 4,000 votes.

“With a margin that small, there will be a recount in Georgia,” the secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, said Friday morning at the state Capitol.

He added: “The final tally in Georgia at this point has huge implications for the entire country. The stakes are high and emotions are high on all sides. We will not let those debates distract us from our work. We will get it right, and we will defend the integrity of our elections.”

Gabriel Sterling, an official with the secretary of state’s office, said that a pool of about 4,200 ballots — most of them absentee ballots — remained to be tallied in four counties: Gwinnett, Cobb, Cherokee and Floyd. The largest tranche to be counted was in Gwinnett County, which contains Atlanta suburban communities and has gone from leaning Republican to leaning Democratic in recent years.

The state must also deal with ballots from military and overseas voters, which will be counted if they arrive in the mail before the end of business Friday and were postmarked by Tuesday.

Mr. Sterling said that the unofficial tally of the votes could be completed by the end of the weekend.

Flipping Georgia, a state last won by a Democrat in 1992, and where Mr. Trump won by more than 200,000 votes four years ago, would represent a significant political shift this year, but the state has shown signs of trending blue. When Mr. Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in 2016, he did so by five percentage points, a far slimmer margin than Republicans had enjoyed in previous presidential elections.

Mr. Biden’s late surge in this year’s count, thanks to his dominance in Atlanta, Savannah and the increasingly Democratic-friendly suburbs around both, transformed the competition in a traditionally Republican-leaning state into one of the closest contests in the nation.

As the count narrowed and it appeared that the two candidates would be separated by the slimmest of margins, Democrats urged voters in the state to fix ballots that had been rejected because of invalid or missing signatures before the deadline on Friday evening.

Those who voted absentee — a group that this year has been heavily Democratic — can check online to see whether election officials have accepted or rejected their ballots. Absentee ballots are often rejected when the voter forgets to sign or uses a signature that does not match the one on file with the state, in some cases because the filed signature is many years old. Election officials are supposed to contact voters in such cases but are not always able to do so.

Voters have until 5 p.m. on Friday to submit an affidavit form to “cure” such ballots. With Georgia hanging in the balance as the last votes are counted, national Democrats — including Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York — are amplifying the message in hopes of salvaging every vote possible.

Credit…Oliver Contreras for The New York Times

WASHINGTON — As the nation awaits the final tally in the presidential election, the Trump administration appears to have used a shuffling of top jobs at the United States Agency for International Development to keep a political appointee in charge of the global development organization.

The move offers a possible indication that, win or lose, President Trump intends to continue to defy the usual post-election comity to muscle through his policies and appointees for as long as he can.

Unexpectedly on Friday, the administration fired the deputy at U.S.A.I.D., which will keep her boss in power, since the move came just hours before his appointment was to expire.

Two officials confirmed that the deputy administrator, Bonnie Glick, was told around 2:45 p.m. Friday that she would be out of her job at 5 p.m.

Her termination came shortly after the agency’s acting administrator, John Barsa, was notified by internal lawyers that his 210-day appointment would expire at midnight Friday, and that he would go back to his previous post as an assistant administrator. Had she not been fired, Ms. Glick would have become the acting administrator.

In a statement, the aid agency confirmed that Friday was Ms. Glick’s last day on the job and called her “a tremendous champion of, and for, USAID.” It did not include details of her firing and a spokeswoman declined further comment.

Mr. Barsa was a Senate-confirmed assistant administrator, overseeing Latin America policy, when the agency’s former leader, Mark Green, resigned in April.

At that point, the Trump administration tapped Mr. Barsa — over Ms. Glick, who was next in line — to run the agency in a temporary capacity.

Now, with Ms. Glick gone, Mr. Barsa is in line to be the acting deputy administrator — and will, in effect, run the agency, since there is no Senate-confirmed administrator. One official described it as a “Game of Thrones” move.

It is not clear why the White House or State Department refused to name Ms. Glick as the agency’s acting administrator either of the times she was passed over. One of the officials said she and Mr. Barsa have not gotten along since he was given the job in April.

The personnel chaos at the aid agency, which has been beset by infighting and delays in distributing coronavirus assistance worldwide, was touched off earlier Friday by a press inquiry from Devex, an online news and community forum for development workers, which had asked about Mr. Barsa’s status given that his appointment was about to expire.

Ms. Glick was confirmed by unanimous consent to her post as deputy administrator of the agency in January 2019. She is a registered Republican in Maryland.

Credit…Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

If Joseph R. Biden Jr. manages to hold his slim lead in Georgia, he has one person to thank above all others, according to many Democrats and local officials: Stacey Abrams.

Ms. Abrams, a former minority leader of the Georgia House, has spent nearly a decade reconstituting the multiracial coalition for voting rights that sparked the 1960s civil rights movement and pushing a state once dominated by white conservatives into a more diverse era.

More than that, Ms. Abrams, who was briefly considered as a possible running mate by Mr. Biden, is increasingly seen as the new torchbearer of the movement embodied by two iconic Georgians: Martin Luther King Jr. and Representative John Lewis. Mr. Biden’s surge cemented that.

“This American citizen would love to thank you from the bottom of her heart!!” the actress Viola Davis wrote to Ms. Abrams on Twitter Friday.

After Ms. Abrams sent out a tweet thanking voting rights activists in Georgia, Hillary Clinton replied, “And THANK YOU, Stacey. Thank you.”

“What time is the Stacey Abrams parade?” wrote Lisa Lucas, a publishing executive, reflecting the views of Black political and business leaders who believe Ms. Abrams deserves much of the credit for record-breaking turnout in communities of color around the country.

Seven years ago, when she was still in the state legislature, Ms. Abrams founded the New Georgia Project, a nonprofit that registered about 100,000 new voters, then went on to create Fair Fight, an organization geared at fighting voter suppression.

In 2018, Ms. Abrams became the first Black woman to win the Democratic nomination for governor and lost in a tight race to the Republican Brian Kemp, amid allegations that Republicans had taken steps to suppress the Black vote by purging voter rolls.

After falling 55,000 votes short, Ms. Abrams told Vogue, “I sat shiva for 10 days. Then I started plotting” — a joking reference to Jewish period of mourning.

Since her loss, Ms. Abrams, who is a lawyer, has helped register an estimated 800,000 new voters and fought “exact match” rules used to disqualify ballots for typos and minor errors. Ms. Abrams was hardly alone in this effort, joining a coalition that included voting rights groups like ProGeorgia, the Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda and the New Georgia Project.

But Ms. Abrams, a powerful public speaker, became the face of that effort.

Some of President Trump’s supporters, led by the Fox News contributor Byron York, have criticized Ms. Abrams for her refusal to formally concede the 2018 election, arguing that her behavior created a precedent for Mr. Trump’s refusal to accept the 2020 results.

“In light of Biden pull-ahead in Georgia, much Democratic praise for Stacey Abrams. Indeed, her conduct in 2018 governor’s race could become model for Trump postelection stance,” he wrote.

But there are critical differences. Ms. Abrams never conceded, but gave a speech announcing the end of her campaign, then moved on — concluding, ‘‘Democracy failed Georgians.’’

Credit…Eve Edelheit for The New York Times

As the presidential race inches agonizingly toward a conclusion, it might be easy to miss the fact that the results are not actually very close.

With many ballots still outstanding in heavily Democratic cities, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., with more than 74 million votes, was leading President Trump by 4.1 million votes nationwide on Friday afternoon. His lead is expected to expand, perhaps substantially, as officials finish counting.

This means more Americans have voted for a Democrat for president than for a Republican in each of the past four elections, and seven of the past eight, the exception being 2004, when President George W. Bush beat John Kerry by about three million votes. But, depending on the outcome this year, only four or five times in those eight elections have Democrats gone on to occupy the White House.

It looks likely that Mr. Biden will secure an Electoral College win. But the days of nail-biting over close races in individual states, in contrast to the decisive preference of the American public, have crystallized some Americans’ anger at a system in which a minority of people often claim a majority of power.

“We look at a map of so-called red and blue states and treat that map as land and not people,” said Carol Anderson, a professor of African-American studies at Emory University who researches voter suppression. “Why, when somebody has won millions more votes than their opponent, are we still deliberating over 10,000 votes here, 5,000 votes there?”

Mr. Biden’s current popular vote lead is larger than the individual populations of more than 20 states. It is also more than a million votes larger than Hillary Clinton’s already large popular vote advantage four years ago. Mrs. Clinton beat Mr. Trump in the popular vote by nearly 2.9 million votes, or 2.1 percentage points; Mr. Biden is currently ahead by 2.8 points.

The outcome could give new fuel, at least temporarily, to long-shot efforts to eliminate or circumvent the Electoral College.

John Koza, chairman of National Popular Vote Inc., which lobbies states to pledge their electors to the winner of the national popular vote, said his group would intensify efforts next year in Arizona, Minnesota, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, among others.

There are similar structural issues in the Senate, where the current Democratic minority was elected with more votes than the Republican majority and where by 2040, based on population projections, about 70 percent of Americans will be represented by 30 percent of senators.

“It’s not that the states that are represented by the 30 percent are all red, but what we do know is that the states that are going to have 70 senators are in no way representative of the diversity in the country,” said Norman Ornstein, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

“The more this happens, the more you get the sense that voters don’t have a say in the choice of their leaders,” he said. “And you cannot have a democracy over a period of time that survives if a majority of people believe that their franchise is meaningless.”

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Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, said that President Trump “was wrong to say the election was rigged, corrupt or stolen” and that doing so “damages the cause of freedom here and around the world, weakens the institutions that lie at the foundation of the Republic, and recklessly inflames destructive and dangerous passions.”

The Republican Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, a state that could send Mr. Biden to the White House but where Mr. Trump has baselessly claimed there had been fraud, said, “The president’s allegations of large-scale fraud and theft of the election are just not substantiated.”

And Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland, another Republican, wrote that there was “no defense” for Mr. Trump’s comments “undermining our democratic process.”

A growing number of Republicans were speaking out against Mr. Trump’s false allegations that the election had been rigged against him, especially after the president delivered a rambling jeremiad filled with conspiracy theories in the White House briefing room on Thursday.

“I saw the president’s speech last night,” Mr. Toomey said Friday morning. “It was very hard to watch.”

A few hours later, Mr. Romney, a semi-frequent Trump critic, wrote on Twitter that while the president was “within his rights to request recounts” and to call out “irregularities where evidence exists,” the president’s statements were reckless.

Some Trump allies did rally around the president. Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina appeared on Fox News on Thursday to defend Mr. Trump’s claims of fraud. “I don’t trust Philadelphia,” he said, referring to the city where Mr. Biden has gotten more than 80 percent of the vote. He offered no evidence for his statement.

Senator Ted Cruz of Texas also appeared on the network and accused Democrats of trying to steal the election. He also offered no evidence to back his assertion.

Many prominent Republican lawmakers remained silent, declining to cross Mr. Trump over the results of an election that was slipping away from the incumbent.

At a news conference on Thursday night in Atlanta with Donald Trump Jr., in which Republican supporters chanted “stop the steal,” Representative Doug Collins, a Georgia congressman who just lost a bid for Senate, suggested without evidence that something was awry in the election. “Transparency only seems to be good when the Democrats like the transparency, and the media are willing to go along with it,” he said.

And Tommy Tuberville, a senator-elect from Alabama and a former Auburn University football coach, echoed the president on Twitter.

“The election results are out of control,” Mr. Tuberville wrote. “It’s like the whistle has blown, the game is over, and the players have gone home, but the referees are suddenly adding touchdowns to the other team’s side of the scoreboard.”

Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the Republican leader, at first sidestepped questions on Wednesday about whether he agreed with Mr. Trump that election officials should halt their tabulations.

But by Thursday evening, he grew more vocal, writing in a tweet: “Republicans will not be silenced. We demand transparency. We demand accuracy. And we demand that the legal votes be protected.”

Credit…Olivier Touron/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

PHOENIX — Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. has maintained a steady but narrowing lead in Arizona vote tallies after Election Day, with Latino voters lining up behind the former vice president in a state that President Trump won by three and a half percentage points in 2016.

On Friday evening, Mr. Biden’s advantage stood at just under 30,000 votes.

Even Mr. Biden’s narrow edge underscored a profound political shift in Arizona, a longtime Republican bastion that has lurched left in recent years, fueled by rapidly evolving demographics and a growing contingent of young Latino voters who favor liberal policies.

In one of the brightest spots for Democrats so far, the former astronaut Mark Kelly defeated the state’s Republican senator, Martha McSally, in a special election, making Mr. Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema the first pair of Democrats to represent Arizona in the Senate since the 1950s.





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