(NEXSTAR) – Former Vice President Joe Biden said Wednesday “we believe we will be the winners” after all the votes have been counted.
Biden was careful to say that he wasn’t declaring victory, but said he had confidence in his path to 270 electoral votes.
A full day after Election Day, neither candidate had cleared the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the White House. Margins remained tight in several fiercely contested states including the Great Lakes battlegrounds of Michigan and Pennsylvania. But Biden’s victory in Wisconsin loomed as an important step to the presidency.
He spoke at length about the strength of democracy in the country, emphasizing “It’s (the people’s) will that determines who will be the president of the United States.”
Biden’s address took on the tone of a future president as he turned to how he would govern once in office.
“We campaigned as Democrats, but I will govern as an American president,” Biden said. “I know how deep and hard the opposing views are in our country,” he added.
Biden said it’s now time “to put the harsh rhetoric of the campaign behind us, to lower the temp, to see each other again, to listen to each other again.”
He appeared to address the Trump administration’s attempts to slow the tabulation of votes, saying, “we the people will not be silenced.”
The Associated Press called Wisconsin for Biden after election officials in the state said all outstanding ballots had been counted, save for a few hundred in one township and an expected small number of provisional votes.
Trump’s campaign requested a recount. Statewide recounts in Wisconsin have historically changed the vote tally by only a few hundred votes; Biden led by 0.624 percentage point out of nearly 3.3 million ballots counted.
It was unclear when or how quickly a national winner could be determined after a long, bitter campaign dominated by the coronavirus and its effects on Americans and the national economy. But Biden’s possible pathways to the White House were expanding rapidly.
After the victory in Wisconsin, he held 248 Electoral College votes, 22 shy of the 270 needed to win the presidency. The former vice president had several possible combinations of outstanding states to win the White House. For example, combining Nevada with either Michigan or Georgia would land him at precisely 270.
Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien said the president would formally request a Wisconsin recount, citing “irregularities” in several counties. And the campaign said it was filing suit in Michigan and Pennsylvania to halt ballot counting on grounds that it wasn’t given proper access to observe.
At the same time, hundreds of thousands of votes were still to be counted in Pennsylvania, and Trump’s campaign said it was moving to intervene in the existing Supreme Court litigation over counting mail-in ballots there.
In other closely watched races, Trump picked up Florida, the largest of the swing states, while Biden flipped Arizona, a state that had reliably voted Republican in recent elections.
The Trump campaign questioned the results in Arizona, with aides having come to the conclusion that, without Wisconsin, their best, if still unlikely, path to victory was winning that state and Pennsylvania. A legal challenge in Arizona was possible.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.