RALEIGH, N.C. — President Donald Trump has won North Carolina in the election, according to the Associated Press, while several news outlets besides AP report that President-elect Joe Biden is the winner of Georgia.
NBC, ABC, CBS and CNN projected Friday that Biden had won Georgia, and Trump won North Carolina, the last two states yet to be called in the presidential election, giving the former vice president a 306-232 lead over Trump in electoral college votes. Because AP and Fox News have not yet called Georgia, their total is 290-232 for Biden.
Trump’s win in North Carolina gives him 15 electoral votes. AP says the Georgia race remains too close to call and is undergoing an audit. Biden holds a slim lead in Georgia, which has 16 electoral votes.
Biden won Pennsylvania last Saturday to get over the 270 electoral votes needed to make him president-elect.
The projections from other networks mean that all 538 electoral votes have been allocated to the candidates. The 306-232 total is the exact inverse of 2016 when Trump won 306 to Hillary Clinton's 232. But faithless electors made the final official count 304-227.
Biden’s win in Georgia is the first time a Democrat has won the state in the presidential contest since Bill Clinton in 1992. Biden was able to flip several states that Trump won in 2016 including Arizona, Michigan and Wisconsin.
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Trump has refused to concede and has filed lawsuits in multiple states to challenge results where Biden won.
Trump spoke with Fox News' Geraldo Rivera on Friday and suggested he would acknowledge the election loss only after exhausting his legal options.
"You know, he told me he was a realist," Rivera said. "He told me he would do the right thing."
Trump campaigned aggressively in North Carolina with in-person rallies at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, including gatherings in Fayetteville, Winston-Salem and Greenville. Biden had largely kept off the physical campaign trail and did not personally visit the state in the last 16 days of the election.
Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper fared much better than Biden, winning his race against Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest on election night Nov. 3 by more than 4 percentage points.
Biden’s campaign hoped the counting of as many as 116,000 mail-in absentee ballots in subsequent days would overwhelmingly swing in his favor, but he fell short of surpassing Trump in North Carolina.
Under Georgia law, the trailing candidate may request a recount if the victory margin is less than 0.5 percentage points. State law says one race in the general election must be audited by hand to check that machines counted ballots accurately. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger chose to audit the presidential race and said the tight margin meant a full hand count of ballots was necessary to complete the audit. AP is monitoring the results of that audit and will reassess Georgia once it is complete.
Biden has frequently criticized Trump’s handling of the coronavirus and his decision to hold in-person rallies with minimal mask wearing. Trump sought to convince voters he would be better equipped to restore the economy to its pre-pandemic strength.
Trump carried North Carolina in 2016 over Hillary Clinton. Former President Barack Obama was the most recent Democrat to win the presidential race in North Carolina, in 2008.
Bryan Anderson, a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative, contributed. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.