If the election result is called tomorrow (Saturday, November 7 in the US) and the Democrats’ Joe Biden becomes the 46th president of the United States, it will mark exactly 48 years to the day since he was first elected to the Senate.
Biden has already notched up another milestone: he has become the first presidential candidate in US history to receive more than 75 million votes, and the count is not finished yet. President Donald Trump has received 70.4 million votes so far.
President Donald Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, has told associates he has coronavirus, according to people familiar with the matter, adding to the outbreaks connected to the White House.
It wasn’t immediately clear when Meadows learned that he had contracted the virus or whether he had developed symptoms of COVID-19. He informed a close circle of advisers after Tuesday’s election, one of the people said.
Meadows didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment. White House spokespeople didn’t respond to numerous e-mails and phone messages requesting comment.
A Trump campaign aide, Nick Trainer, is also infected, according to two people familiar with the matter. He and campaign spokespeople declined to comment.
Meadows has remained involved in Trump’s post-election effort to challenge votes in several states where he trails former Vice President Joe Biden, according to one person familiar with the matter.
The people familiar with the matter asked not to be identified because the two cases had not been announced.
More than three dozen people associated with the President or the White House have been infected by the virus, including the President, his wife, Melania, and his youngest son, Barron.
Vice-President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, and other aides tested positive for the virus late last month, shortly before the election.
Meadows was at Trump’s bedside when the president was hospitalised last month with COVID-19.
Trump’s handling of the pandemic has been rated poorly by most Americans in public opinion surveys, and is seen as a major reason he’s poised to lose re-election to Biden.
We had been expecting Democratic Party vice-presidential hopeful Kamala Harris to deliver her first remarks since election night on Friday (US time), but it was not to be.
Media outlets including CNN have suggested Harris intended to introduce presidential hopeful Joe Biden if an election victory for the Democrats was called, but there has been no movement on that front yet.
Biden is now leading in the key battleground states of Pennsylvania, Georgia and Nevada. A win in Pennsylvania, which he says is on track, would deliver him the presidency immediately with 20 Electoral College votes.
Democrat Joe Biden – who stopped short of declaring electoral victory on Friday night (US time), but only just – said America must come together and he will represent "the whole nation”.
"We may be opponents but we are not enemies, we are Americans,” he said of his Republican rivals.
"We have to be civil. To put the anger and the demonisation behind us. It is time for us to come together as a nation to heal. It is not going to be easy, but we have to try.” He said his responsibility as president "will be to represent the whole nation, and I want you to know that I will work as hard for those who voted against me as those who voted for me.”
The nation had "serious problems to deal with” including the pandemic, the economy, racial injustice and climate change.
"We have an incredible opportunity to build the future we want for our kids and our grandkids. I have said, many, many times that I have never been more optimistic about the future of this nation. There is no reason we can’t own the 21st century. We just need to remember who we are. This is the United States of America. And there has never been anything, anything we have been unable to do, unable to accomplish what we have done it together.”
He ended with an optimistic: "I hope to be talking to you tomorrow.”
One imagines all is calm over in the Trump camp.
Democrat Joe Biden says his team is "going to win this race” and he has a strong mandate to act on the COVID-19 pandemic, the economy, climate change and systemic racism, in his most decisive address to the nation since the election.
The vote count was telling a "clear and convincing story”, he said from his campaign base in Wilmington, Delaware, late on Friday (US time).
"Democracy works. Your vote will be counted. The people will be heard,” he said.
"Just look at what has happened since yesterday – 24 hours [ago], we were behind in Georgia, now we are ahead and we’re going to win that. Twenty-four hours ago, we were behind in Pennsylvania and we are going to win Pennsylvania.
"And we’re going be the first Democrat to win in Arizona in 24 years, we’re going to be the first Democrat to win Georgia in 28 years, and we have rebuilt the blue wall in the middle of the country that crumbled just years ago; Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, the heartland of this nation.
"And now we are … winning in Nevada, and in fact, our lead just doubled in Nevada. Look at the national numbers. We’re going to win this race a clear majority with the nation behind us.
"We are beating Donald Trump by over 4 million votes. That is a margin that is still growing as well. One of the things I’m especially proud of is how well we have done across America.”
Democratic Party presidential hopeful Joe Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris are addressing the public late on Friday night (US time). This is the first time Harris has spoken, rather than tweeted, since election day.
US President Donald Trump issued a tweet earlier on Friday warning Biden not to "wrongfully claim” the presidency, in an apparent bid to head off a victory speech. There is no indication the Democrats plan to call the election now. You can watch Biden and Harris live here.
Democratic Party presidential hopeful Joe Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris are due to address the nation from Wilmington, Delaware, any minute now. We’ll be crossing to a live feed as soon as this happens.
Democrat Joe Biden’s lead in Arizona is now just 29,861. As we’ve noted a few times today, the Associated Press (AP) has already called this state as a win for the Democrats and we rely on AP for its election calls.
That means we’ve included Arizona’s 11 Electoral College votes in our tally topping the blog on Biden’s side of the ledger, placing him just six votes away from the 270 votes needed to claim the presidency.
Other media outlets have yet to make a call, and are looking to the result in Pennsylvania (20 Electoral College votes) to deliver a decisive election outcome. If Biden emerges the victor in that state, he will immediately win the presidency.
The Associated Press, on whom we rely for calls about the winner of individual US states and the election overall, has published a useful explainer about why the election count seems (agonisingly) slow this year.
Part of it is what they call "the enthusiasm factor”: about 15 million more voters participated in this year’s presidential election than in 2016, the election that catapulted President Donald Trump into the White House.
Another factor is that some US states sought to make it easier for people to vote by mail, rather than on election day, to avoid the risk of COVID-19 spreading among voters. These votes can take longer to process than ballots cast at polling places.
The bottom line is AP says the slow pace of the count is "mostly for good reasons”.
Democrat Joe Biden is still ahead in Pennsylvania and has extended his lead over US President Donald Trump to 27,174 votes. The state’s 20 Electoral College votes are in Biden’s sights, but we don’t yet have a final count.
It is now almost 10pm in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s largest city, and US political analysis site FiveThirtyEight is reporting that "Philadelphia will have no further updates on its vote totals tonight”, which "may essentially eliminate any realistic chance of a race projection in Pennsylvania” on Friday night (US time).