Democrat Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., have declared victory in a national acceptance speech amid a contested presidential election Saturday night in Wilmington, Delaware.
"Folks, the people of this nation have spoken," Biden told his drive-in celebration. "They delivered us a clear victory. A convincing victory. A victory for we the people. We won with the most votes ever cast for a presidential ticket in the history of the nation: 74 million."
"I pledge to be a president who seeks not to divide, but unify, who doesn't see red states or blue states – only sees the United States.
"I sought this office to restore the soul of America, to rebuild the backbone of this nation, the middle class, and to make America respected around the world again – to unite us here at home."
Biden saluted his running mate Harris, potentially the first woman and first woman of color to win on a presidential ticket.
"I will have the honor to serve with the fantastic vice president you just heard from, Kamala Harris," Biden said. "She'll make history as the first woman, first woman, first black woman, first woman of south descent, first woman of immigrants.
"Don't tell me it's not possible in the United States. It's long overdue."
Harris spoke first to introduce Biden in an emotional address to the nation.
"You delivered a clear message: You chose hope, and unity, decency, science, and, yes, truth," she said. "You chose Joe Biden as the next president of the United States of America."
Harris saluted the women and minority candidates before her than blazed a path to the White House.
"I reflect on their struggle, their determination, and the strength of their vision to see what can be unburdened by what has been," she said. "And I stand on their shoulders. And what a testament it is to Joe's character that he had the audacity to break one of the most substantial barriers that exists in our country and select a woman as his vice president."
Biden thanked his support from the African-American community and their voters.
"The African-American community stood up," he said. "You always had my back, and I will have yours."
He added a healing message, while alluding to President Donald Trump's alleged short comings.
"This is the time to heal in America," he continued. "Now this campaign is over. What is the role of the people? What is our mandate? I believe it's this: America is calling upon us to March with the forces of decency, the forces of fairness, the forces of science, and the forces of hope, and the great battles of our time.
"The battle to control the virus. The battle to build prosperity. The battle to security your family's healthcare. The battle to achieve racial justice and root out systemic racism in this country."
Biden rebuked the "demonization" in American politics, taking an egregious shot at Trump.
"I am a proud Democrat, but I will govern as an American president," Biden said, repeating his oft-shared mantra. "I will work as hard for those who didn't vote for me as those who did.
"Let this demonization in America begin to end here and now."
Pennsylvania claims to have catapulted its native son, Joe Biden, to victory and the White House on Saturday after a long, hard-fought and expensive campaign in which Democrats wrested the battleground state's 20 electoral votes back from President Donald Trump after the Republican's surprise victory in 2016.
Biden, 77, was born in Scranton and sought to contrast his working-class roots with the affluent Trump's by casting the race as "Scranton versus Park Avenue." It was a familiar theme for Biden, who has long played up his connection to lunch-bucket Scranton and still has friends there.
Biden's victory declaration comes after more than three days of uncertainty as election officials sorted through a surge of mail-in votes that delayed the processing of some ballots, and the Trump campaign mounted several legal challenges that remain pending in the state.
The campaign and the Republican Party argued GOP election observers were kept too far away from the tabulation in Philadelphia, some Democrat-leaning counties unfairly allowed people to fix technical problems with their mail-in ballots, and mail-in ballots arriving after Tuesday should not be counted.
Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani vowed again Saturday the litigation would continue next week over the vote count in Pennsylvania. In a statement, Trump vowed not to concede "until the American People have the honest vote count they deserve and that Democracy demands."
The Associated Press declared Biden the winner of Pennsylvania at 11:25 a.m. ET, after determining the remaining ballots left to be counted would not allow Trump to catch up. Biden was ahead by tens of thousands of votes Saturday, a lead that continued to grow as additional mail-in votes were counted.
Biden has long played up the idea he was Pennsylvania's "third senator" during his decades representing neighboring Delaware. He also campaigned extensively in the state from his home in Delaware.
Until 1952, Biden lived with his parents and grandparents in a two-story Colonial on a tree-lined street in Green Ridge, an Irish Catholic enclave and one of Scranton's nicest neighborhoods. Biden slept in an attic bedroom with sloped ceilings and a view of West Mountain, scrawling "Joe Biden was here" and "Kilroy was here" on the walls.
The family moved to Delaware in search of greater opportunity, but Biden returned frequently over the years. He made several stops in northeastern Pennsylvania during the campaign, paying nostalgic visits to his childhood home and the church down the street.
That hometown appeal helped him at the ballot box.
Biden substantially outpaced 2016 nominee Hillary Clinton in Lackawanna County — where Scranton is — after Trump nearly flipped the longtime Democratic stronghold in 2016.
In neighboring Luzerne County, where Democrats have steadily lost ground to Republicans, Biden was beaten soundly but still managed to whittle down Trump’s 2016 margin of victory.
Meanwhile, Biden rolled up decisive margins in Philadelphia’s populous suburbs, doing better against Trump than even Clinton, who had racked up historic vote totals there four years ago. Once solidly Republican, the counties have trended Democratic in recent years, with a population that is more racially diverse, better-educated and wealthier than the rest of Pennsylvania.
In Allegheny County, home to Pittsburgh, Biden also appeared to score a larger margin than Clinton as Biden repeatedly courted influential blue-collar labor unions there, saying he would be the strongest pro-union president ever.
On the other side of the ledger, Trump overwhelmed Biden in many of the same rural counties, small towns and exurbs that he won in 2016. In fact, he did even better, underscoring Pennsylvania's gaping geographic, cultural, economic and political divides. He also managed to squeeze out more votes than last time in Philadelphia — where Trump notoriously said "bad things happen" — though the heavily Democratic city still went big for Biden.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
Eric Mack ✉
Eric Mack has been a writer and editor at Newsmax since 2016. He is a 1998 Syracuse University journalism graduate and a New York Press Association award-winning writer.
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