WASHINGTON — Democrat Joe Biden has solidified his victory over Donald Trump in the US election with a win in traditionally Republican-leaning Georgia, putting him at 306 electoral votes, networks projected Friday.
CNN, ABC and other networks called the race in the southern state in favor of Biden — marking the first time a Democrat has won there since Bill Clinton in 1992.
Trump took a comfortable early lead in the state as the largely rural vote was counted but it ended up being the closest race in the nation as the cities of Atlanta and Savannah began tabulating results.
Biden is currently up by some 14,000 votes, and a hand recount is expected to be completed next week. Audits of state-wide elections never bring the kind of reversal that Trump would need to change the result.
Notably, however, The Associated Press has yet to call Georgia.
It explained its decision saying: Under state law in Georgia, the trailing candidate may request a recount if the victory margin is less than 0.5 percentage points. It is AP’s practice not to call a race that is — or is likely to become — subject to a recount.
Trump meanwhile claimed victory in North Carolina, US networks projected. That put his final projected electoral vote tally at 232.
In traditionally-Republican North Carolina, a drive to get out Black voters by Democrats was not enough to overcome Trump’s hugely loyal base of white, non-college-educated men and rural voters.
The Electoral College, made up of 538 electors, formally decides the US presidency, following the November 3 election.
The results mean that Biden has won the same number of electoral votes as Trump won in 2016. Trump repeatedly referred to his electoral college margin as “a landslide” and a “shellacking.”
Trump, who has refused to acknowledge defeat, was due later Friday to address the public for the first time since becoming the projected loser six days ago.
It was unclear whether he would take questions or finally address his defeat.
Biden captured 25 states including his home state Delaware and big prizes California and New York, as well as the US capital.
The former vice president flipped five states won by Trump in 2016 — Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
US media outlets projected wins for the Republican incumbent in 25 states including big prizes Florida and Texas, as well as Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri and Ohio — all states he won in 2016.
Nebraska split its electoral votes between the two candidates — four for Trump and one for Biden. Maine was won by Biden, but he seized only three of the four electoral votes on offer, with the last allocated to Trump.
Georgia and North Carolina were the final two states called.
On Thursday US networks declared Biden won Arizona, flipping the state Democratic for the first time since 1996.
NBC, CBS, ABC and CNN declared Biden the winner in the tight race with a lead of more than 11,000 ballots, giving him the state’s 11 electoral votes.
Fox News and The Associated Press called the race in the southwestern state in Biden’s favor on Election Night, triggering the wrath of Trump, but the other outlets held off on declaring a winner.
Despite Biden being declared winner of the election on Saturday, Trump has refused to concede and continues to make baseless claims of election fraud.
Bill Clinton was the last Democrat to win Arizona in a race for the White House.