WASHINGTON - Democratic candidate Joe Biden has been elected as the next President of the United States, according to calls from US media outlets on Saturday (Nov 7).
He was projected the winner of the presidential election after he was declared the winner of the battleground states of Pennsylvania and Nevada, netting him 20 and 6 electoral votes respectively, bringing his total to 279 - more than the 270 needed to win the White House.
California senator Kamala Harris will be the next Vice-President, making history as the first Black woman and the first person of South Asian descent to hold the nation’s second-highest office.
“I am honoured and humbled by the trust the American people have placed in me and in Vice-President-elect Harris,” Mr Biden, who served as senator for Delaware from 1973 to 2009 and as vice-president from 2009 to 2016 under president Barack Obama, said in a statement on Saturday.
“In the face of unprecedented obstacles, a record number of Americans voted. Proving once again, that democracy beats deep in the heart of America,” he said.
The Associated Press, CNN, MSNBC and other networks made the call just before 11.30am Eastern Standard Time on Saturday morning, after Mr Biden’s lead in Pennsylvania grew to 30,000.
The former vice-president’s victory in Pennsylvania closes off incumbent President Donald Trump’s path to victory. Mr Trump currently has 214 electoral votes and cannot win the election without the 20 votes from Pennsylvania. His loss makes him the first incumbent President not to win reelection since Republican president George H.W. Bush’s defeat in 1992.
The win in Pennsylvania came on the fourth morning after Election Day. Mr Trump initially had the lead in Pennsylvania, Georgia and other states where counting was still ongoing, but that lead narrowed then vanished as mail-in ballots and votes from urban centres, which heavily favored Mr Biden, were counted.
Mr Biden, who will be America’s 46th president, will also be its oldest when he is sworn in in January. He turns 78 in two weeks and had made two unsuccessful runs for the presidency previously.
Mr Trump rejected the outcome of the election and said on Twitter: “I WON THIS ELECTION, BY A LOT!"
He also promised further legal challenges as Democrats and liberal groups celebrated Mr Biden’s victory, Bloomberg reported.
In a statement, the president said: “This election is far from over. Joe Biden has not been certified as the winner of any states, let alone any of the highly contested states headed for mandatory recounts, or states where our campaign has valid and legitimate legal challenges that could determine the ultimate victor.”
The Trump campaign has mounted a campaign of lawsuits to stop or challenge the counts in battleground states, which the Biden campaign has criticised as meritless and distracting.
But the election, which came amid a pandemic that has killed nearly 240,000 Americans so far and after a summer of racial justice protests, revealed a deeply divided America.
Mr Biden has also won the popular vote, netting a record of 74.8 million votes in total and counting - more than 4.3 million votes more than Mr Trump, whose tally stands at 70.6 million so far.
Mr Biden’s victory was made possible by his rebuilding of the “blue wall” as he flipped states in the upper Midwest which Mr Trump had himself in 2016: Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
He is also ahead in Georgia, where he would be the first Democrat to win the state since 1992, and in Arizona, which no Democrat has won since 1996.
Should the Democrats fail to retake the Senate, Mr Biden will enter the White House without control of both branches of Congress, likely limiting the sweeping reforms the party had hoped he could achieve.
Mr Biden, who ran during a particularly rancorous election on a message of uniting a fractured and divided America, called for Americans to come together and start the process of healing.
“With the campaign over, it’s time to put the anger and the harsh rhetoric behind us and come together as a nation,” he said on Saturday.
He added on Twitter: The work ahead of us will be hard, but I promise you this: I will be a President for all Americans — whether you voted for me or not.”
Ms Harris echoed him on Twitter, writing: “This election is about so much more than Joe Biden or me. It’s about the soul of America and our willingness to fight for it. We have a lot of work ahead of us. Let’s get started.”
For live updates and results, follow our US election live coverage.