Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden at the Flint drive-in rally with former President Barack Obama, Oct. 31, 2020 | Andrew Roth
A record wave of absentee voting in Michigan appears to have helped carry Democratic former Vice President Joe Biden to a win in the crucial battleground state.
As of Wednesday afternoon, CNN and NBC have both called the race for Biden. He is projected to have 253 of the 270 electoral votes he needs to win the presidency.
With 99% of the vote in, Biden has 2,684,200 votes, or 49.9%, and Republican President Donald Trump has 2,617,062 votes, or 48.6%. Well over 5 million votes were cast, a new record in the state.
The Trump campaign has filed a case in the Court of Claims to stop the count and GOP protesters created a ruckus at the TCF Center in Detroit in their own attempt to block ballot counting.
During a Wednesday afternoon news conference, Biden did not declare victory, but he expressed confidence that he would win the race, including Michigan and Pennsylvania, in which the Trump campaign said it will file a similar suit to stop the count there.
“I’m not here to declare that we’ve won,” Biden told reporters in Wilmington, appearing with his running mate, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris. “But I am here to report that when the count is finished, we believe we will be the winners.”
There are 16 electoral votes up for grabs in Michigan and they are all awarded to the winner of the state’s popular vote.
Michigan was one of several states to flip red in 2016 for President Donald Trump, with a historically narrow margin of just 10,704 votes (.23%).
The incumbent GOP president, hoping for a repeat win in the state four years later, hit the campaign trail in Michigan hard over the past few months with nine total visits this year. That culminated in a final campaign stop in Grand Rapids Monday night — the same city in which Trump closed out his 2016 campaign effort.
Since January, Trump has made presidential campaign stops in Warren, Ypsilanti, Freeland, Muskegon, Lansing, Waterford Township, Washington Township, Traverse City and Grand Rapids. Campaign surrogates including Vice President Mike Pence and Trump’s children also have made a number of appearances in the state.
But the Biden campaign, presumably taking notes from 2016 critiques that then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton did not spend enough time in the Great Lakes State, also embarked on an ambitious event schedule in Michigan.
That included nine appearances from Biden and his surrogates in the month of October alone. The Trump campaign and its surrogates appeared in the state a total of 13 times that month.
Vice presidential nominee U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) has also visited Michigan twice in the last nine days. Harris spent Tuesday in Southfield and Detroit for a last-minute “get out the vote” effort.
Biden has held a steady lead over Trump in statewide polls this year — most recently with 7.9% margin, according to the latest FiveThirtyEight polling average.
The former vice president and his allies have also greatly outspent Trump in Michigan TV ads. An NPR analysis in October reported that Biden and groups supporting him spent around $98.6 million total ($33.8 million directly from the Biden campaign), whereas Trump and his allies spent a total of $21.5 million ($15 million from the campaign).
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