EXPLAINER: Why AP called Michigan for Biden

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Copyright 2020 Associated Press

Democratic election challengers arrive at the central counting board as ballots are counted into the early morning hours Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020 in Detroit. (AP Photo/David Goldman)


Democrat Joe Biden has won the electoral battleground of Michigan, the third state that President Donald Trump carried in 2016 that the former vice president has flipped. The Biden victory narrows Trump's path to re-election.

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The Associated Press declared Biden the winner of the state at 5:56 p.m. EST Wednesday after conducting an analysis of votes and remaining ballots left to be counted. It showed there were not enough votes left in Republican-leaning areas for Trump to catch Biden's lead.

Biden had a 70,000-vote lead on Wednesday evening, a margin over Trump of about 1.3 percentage points. The ballots that remained to be counted were from overwhelmingly Democratic areas: Wayne County, which is home to Detroit; the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan's second largest city; Genesee County; and Kalamazoo.

Michigan is among a handful of battleground states where Trump prematurely claimed early Wednesday that he was “winning” the contest with Biden. Both are locked in a tight race for the 270 electors needed to win the presidency, though Trump's path is narrowing.

“We’re winning Michigan by — I’ll tell you, I looked at the numbers,” Trump said during an appearance at the White House, where he promised to contest the election before the Supreme Court.

Later in the day, Trump tweeted that he had would “hereby claim the State of Michigan” for “Electoral Vote purposes” despite the fact that Biden had jumped out to a lead.

Michigan is part of what Democrats long referred to as their “blue wall” — a trifecta of states that also includes Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — which served as a bulwark in presidential elections.

In 2016, a combined total of about 80,000 voters spread across those states narrowly handed Trump the presidency. He carried each state by less than a percentage point.

With Biden winning both Michigan and Wisconsin, all eyes are on Nevada and Pennsylvania. Biden had a lead Wednesday evening in Nevada while Trump was leading in Pennsylvania, though there were still about 1 million votes left to count in the state, many of which were mail ballots.

Voters who cast mail ballots have favored Biden. That’s likely because Trump spent months claiming without proof that voting by mail would lead to widespread voter fraud.

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