A margin of only 14,000 votes and plans for a recount have kept the Associated Press from calling Georgia for Joe Biden, but on Friday -- as the state’s 159 counties began a hand tally of the presidential race -- NBC and CNN declared the Democrat the winner of the state’s 16 electoral votes.
While President Donald Trump was ahead in Georgia on Election Night, Biden inched past the incumbent as absentee ballots were counted over the next three days.
Associated Press did call North Carolina and it’s 15 electoral votes for Trump on Friday.
That makes Georgia the only state in the country that the Associated Press has not called in the 2020 presidential election.
The AP does not declare a winner of an election that will be — or is likely to become — subject to a mandatory recount. In instances where a recount isn’t required by law but a candidate requests one, AP will not call a race if the margin between the top two candidates is 0.5 percentage points or less.
Electoral research conducted by the AP found there have been at least 31 statewide recounts since 2000. Three of those changed the outcome of the election. The initial margins in those races were 137 votes, 215 votes and 261 votes.
Among all 31 recounts, the largest shift in results was 0.1%, in the 2006 race for Vermont’s Auditor of Accounts. This was a low turnout election in which the initial results had one candidate winning by 137 votes. The candidate eventually lost by 102 votes, for a swing of 239 votes.
Georgia’s political profile
Georgia has long been a Republican stronghold. Voters in the Peach State haven’t swung for a Democratic presidential candidate since Bill Clinton in 1992. Trump beat Hillary Clinton there by 5 percentage points in 2016. And the state’s government is dominated by the GOP.
But the party’s grip has loosened. As older, white, Republican-leaning voters die, they are being replaced by a younger and more racially diverse cast of people, many of whom moved to the booming Atlanta area from other states — and took their politics with them.
Overall, demographic trends show that the state’s electorate is becoming younger and more diverse each year. Like other metro areas, Atlanta’s suburbs have also moved away from Republicans. In 2016, Hillary Clinton flipped both Cobb and Gwinnett counties, where Biden is currently leading.
In 2018, Democrat Stacey Abrams galvanized Black voters in her bid to become the country’s first African American woman to lead a state, a campaign she narrowly lost.
Many political analysts said it wasn’t a question of if but rather when Georgia becomes a swing state. That much was clear in the closing weeks of the campaign as Biden; his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris; and former President Barack Obama barnstormed the state. Trump, too, visited the state to play defense.