Democrat Joe Biden has carried Michigan and its 16 electoral votes, further dismantling Donald Trump’s Rust Belt wall of support that helped deliver him the presidency four years ago.
Mr Biden is just six seats shy of being able to declare victory in the race to become president of the United States.
The flip from red back to blue was a huge blow to Mr Trump, whose victories in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania in 2016 sent him to the White House. Mr Biden also carried Wisconsin, though Pennsylvania hasn’t been called yet.
Mr Biden’s victory in Michigan pushes him to 264 Electoral College votes, as he seeks the 270 needed to win the White House. Mr Trump is at 214 electoral votes.
Mr Biden says he’s not ready to declare victory as vote counting continues in the presidential election, but he says that when the count is finished “we believe we will be the winners”.
The swing toward the Democrats came as President Donald Trump posted a tweet claiming victories in a number of swing states that were either called for Mr Biden, or which have not yet been called, amid legal challenges mounted by his campaign.
Mr Trump claimed victory in Pennsylvania, Georgia, and North Carolina, which are all still to be decided. He also appeared to be laying a claim to Michigan.
Twitter flagged the content of the tweet as disputed or potentially misleading.
Mr Trump’s legal team has mounted challenges in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Georgia, while demanding a recount in Wisconsin, indicating that his campaign has no plan to concede in the near term.
…..there was a large number of secretly dumped ballots as has been widely reported!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 4, 2020
Mr Biden earlier addressed reporters from Wilmington, Delaware, alongside his running mate, California Senator Kamala Harris.
“Every vote must be counted,” Mr Biden said.
“We the people will not be silenced.”
“After a long night of counting, it’s clear that we’re winning enough states to reach 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency,” Mr Biden said.
He promised to reach out to political opponents and insisted that the presidency “itself is not a partisan institution.”
Meanwhile the campaign for Mr Trump announced it is suing to temporarily halt vote counting in Pennsylvania and has also asked to intervene in a US Supreme Court case over mail-in ballots in the state, which could determine the winner of the election.
Mr Trump repeatedly claimed – without proof – that Mr Biden’s gains were the result of electoral fraud.
The campaign said on Wednesday (local time) it was suing to stop Democratic officials in the state from “hiding” the ballot counting process from Republican poll observers.
Pennsylvania and the US election remain too close to call between Mr Trump and Mr Biden.
Mr Biden has told reporters his team believes they are the winners.
“After a long night of counting, it’s clear that we’re winning enough states to reach 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency,” he said.
“I’m not here to declare that we’ve won. But I am here to report, when the counting is finished, we believe we will be the winners.”
Mr Biden stressed the need for Americans to “come together” and “heal” once a result had been finalised.
“But we have had hard campaigns before. We have faced hard times before. So, once this election is finalised and behind us, it will be time for us to do what we’ve always done as Americans,” Mr Biden said in his prepared speech.
“To put the harsh rhetoric of the campaign behind us. To lower the temperature. To see each other again. To listen to each other again. To hear each other again. To respect and care for one another again.
“To unite. To heal. To come together as a nation.
“I know this won’t be easy. I’m not naïve. Neither of us are. I know how deep and hard the opposing views are in our country on so many things.
“But I know this as well: to make progress, we have to stop treating our opponents as enemies.
Alluding to Mr Trump’s late-night address in which he falsely claimed he had won the election, Mr Biden said the result of the presidential election would be decided by voters.
“Here, the people rule,” Mr Biden said.
The move to halt counting in Pennsylvania comes after Mr Trump’s campaign filed a similar lawsuit earlier on Wednesday in Michigan, also aimed at temporarily halting counting in that state.
The campaign also sought to intervene in an existing case before the US Supreme Court, according to a court filing.
The case was brought by Republicans who had asked the US Supreme Court to review a decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that allowed mail-in ballots that arrive by Friday to be counted as along as they were postmarked by Election Day.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison insists he maintains faith in democracy in the United States.
“It is a great democracy and it does have great institutions,” Mr Morrison said on Thursday.
“I have great confidence in the democracy of the United States and I have great confidence in their institutions.”
He said record turnout in the US election showed their democracy was working.