Former Vice President Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump on Tuesday night in Minnesota after a campaign in which both candidates made considerable efforts to win over voters in the embattled state in the 11th hour.
After midnight, Associated Press, CNN and Fox projected Biden as the winner. At about 12:45 pm, Biden had 54.3 percent of the vote, with 87 percent reporting. His lead over Trump was 1,457,135 to 1,174,926 or 282,209 votes.
Trump had seen the North Star State as an important catch-up opportunity and was determined to overcome the narrow 1.5 percent defeat to Hillary Clinton in 2016.
On Friday Trump held a rally in Rochester where he fought to become the first Republican presidential candidate the state has backed since Richard Nixon in 1972. The same day, Biden attended a drive-in event in St. Paul.
In the weeks leading up to the election, Trump succeeded in closing the gap to Biden significantly. On September 24, according to Real Clear Politics, Trump lagged behind Biden in the polls by an average of 11.3 percent – 53.3 percent to 42 percent.
In the weeks that followed, this dropped to 6.6 percent on October 14 – 47.3 percent to 40.7 percent – and to just 4.7 points on October 28 (48 percent to 43.3 percent).
This is a significant victory that earned him 10 votes in the electoral college and retained the state that Clinton won four years ago.
The victory comes in a turbulent year for the state, where Minneapolis was the epicenter of a debate about racial relations following the death of George Floyd, a black man who was in the custody of city police, which sparked nationwide protests against racial injustice.
Last week, a federal appeals court ordered that postal ballots arriving in Minnesota after November 3 must be separated in case they are not counted in a future decision.
Republican voters had challenged the state’s plan to accept mail ballot papers that were postmarked on time up to one week after election day, arguing that the extension violated federal law, which set November 3 as the date for this year’s general election.
“There is no pandemic exception to the Constitution,” according to the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit.
Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon told CBS: “The court’s decision is a huge and unnecessary disruption to the election in Minnesota, just days before election day”.
A record 1.6 million Minnesota citizens will vote in absentia this year. The extension was intended to take into account delays in mail delivery caused by the coronavirus pandemic and an expected increase in postal votes.
The seven-day extension will see the results announced as districts report daily on how many absentee ballots have been received and processed.