On Wednesday, Nov. 4, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden inched closer to the 270 electoral votes needed to claim the presidency as news networks called the first states projected to flip from red to blue as compared to the 2016 election. Biden was officially projected as the winner of the election on Nov. 7, after news networks called Pennsylvania for him, pushing him over the 270 electoral vote threshold. A number of key swing states made the election very interesting this year, all playing a big role in deciding who would sit in the Oval Office in 2021. If you're wondering which states flipped in the 2020 election, there are a few to mark down.
Two of the first big flips came on Nov. 5, before any news organizations had declared a winner in the presidential race, but the individual state calls kept coming in — including flips in Wisconsin and Michigan. According to projections from The New York Times, the Associated Press, and CNN that first came in around 2:30 p.m. ET on Nov. 4, Wisconsin has been called for Joe Biden, which adds the state's 10 electoral votes to Biden's running total. It was a close race, as Biden won the state by just 20,517 votes, which is a 0.7% margin of victory. Back in 2016, President Donald Trump won Wisconsin by 22,748 votes, which was a margin of 0.77%.
A few hours later on Wednesday, Biden stole another state away from Trump. At about 6 p.m. ET, the AP, New York Times, and CNN had all called Michigan and its 16 electoral votes for Biden, another huge win for the Democrat. It marked Biden's second flip — in 2016, Trump won Michigan by a slim margin of barely 10,000 votes. In 2020, as of the morning of Nov. 5, Biden holds a respectable lead of nearly 150,000 votes, per the Times.
While President Trump prematurely claimed victory in the early hours of Nov. 4, the "red mirage" from Nov. 3 — which made it appear as if numerous states were backing the Republican incumbent before heavily Democratic early and mail-in ballots were counted — appeared to dissipate as more mail-in votes were able to be counted.
Despite the calls on the Badger State, the president quickly made it clear he was not going to accept the results. On Nov. 4, Trump's leading campaign manager Bill Stepien shared a statement saying the president would order a recount, claiming voter fraud, although he did not share any evidence to back up his claims of fraud.
"There have been reports of irregularities in several Wisconsin counties which raise serious doubts about the validity of the results," Stepien said. "The President is well within the threshold to request a recount and we will immediately do so."
In Wisconsin, if a candidate loses by less than 1 percentage point, he or she can force a recount. If the margin is larger than that, a recount is not allowed, per the AP. However, voters will have to wait until all the ballots are finalized over the coming weeks during a process called canvassing to determine if President Trump can demand a recount.
In light of states' different ballot counting laws, as well as a Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling that allows election officials to count mail-in ballots received until Friday, Nov. 6, as long as they are postmarked by Nov. 3, it's likely that the public won't know the results of some of the most contentious races until the end of the week or later.
The election seemed to reach its end at long last on Saturday, Nov. 7, as The Associated Press, CNN, and The New York Times all projected Biden to win the election. This announcement came after two key swing states went blue: Nevada and Pennsylvania. While Nevada has actually voted Democrat in the past several elections, the Trump campaign had been pushing hard for a flip, and the state remained red for much of the ballot-counting process. Thanks to several mail-in ballots, though, Nevada narrowly remained blue with Biden beating Trump by just over 25,000 votes as of Nov. 7.
Pennsylvania was one of the most closely watched states throughout the 2020 election. The state went to Trump in 2016, but this time around, it flipped to Biden by a narrow margin.
More than a week after the election, on Thursday Nov. 12, news organizations called Arizona for President-elect Biden, pushing his electoral votes to 290. Biden's win also marks the first time in 24 years a Democrat won the state in a presidential election since former President Bill Clinton did so during his 1996 re-election, per CNBC. One day later, on Nov. 13, Georgia was also called for Biden, bringing the president-elect up to 306 electoral votes. The last Democratic candidate to win Georgia in a presidential election was also Clinton back in 1992. A recount in Georgia is already underway, but officials told The New York Times it will likely not change the results.
Editor's Note: A previous version of this story characterized Nevada as flipping from red to blue. While the state remained uncalled for several days during the 2020 presidential election, it was ultimately called for the Democratic candidate in both the 2020 and 2016 elections.
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