Joe Biden and Donald Trump both claim they’re winning the US election as results come down to the wire.
Key swing states were impossible to declare hours after polls closed in a race that could end up in the courts, thanks to the belligerent incumbent.
Trump was projected to keep Florida, Iowa, Ohio and Texas despite hopes some or all of them would fall to the Democrats.
But Arizona was claimed by Fox News to have “flipped” to the Democrat challenger.
Speaking to the honk of supporters’ car horns, Biden said: “We believe we’re on track to win this election”.
But he added: “It’s not my place or Donald Trump ’s place to declare who’s won this election – that’s the decision of the American people.”
Biden warned every vote would have to be counted – in a warning to Trump, who has threatened legal action to discount mail-in ballots over dubious claims of fraud. And sure enough, the President claimed the election could be “stolen” in a misleading tweet.
The President tweeted: “We are up BIG, but they are trying to STEAL the Election. We will never let them do it. Votes cannot be cast after the Poles are closed!” He later corrected it to “Polls”. Twitter flagged the tweet as possibly misleading.
So as Brits wake up and try to work out what’s happening across the pond, what have you missed? Here are 5 key points.
1. We don’t know yet who’s won the election – and it could take days to know for sure
No clear winner emerged in early results as several key races came down to the wire.
Key states including Wisconsin, Michigan and North Carolina were too close to call hours after the polls closed.
Neither candidate was immediately projected to win the 270 out of 538 Electoral College votes they needed to win the Presidency.
And it could come down to just a few battleground states, most of which award their College votes on a ‘winner-takes-all’ basis.
That could make Pennsylvania – which has 20 votes up for grabs – crucial as Trump won it by just one point in 2016. But PA was due to take days, possibly until the end of the week, to declare its results. And there were suggestions of a legal challenge by Trump’s team even while the count was in its early stages.
By 6am GMT, Donald Trump was on 57% to Joe Biden ’s 42% but fewer than two thirds of votes were counted yet.
2. Trump did better than many expected – defying some polls
National polls had consistently put Biden well ahead, and some more optimistic polling had suggested Joe Biden could take Florida, Iowa, Ohio or even Texas.
But the states were all called at various degrees of confidence for the sitting President.
While those calls don’t deny Joe Biden a route to the White House, they cruciallly keep the road open for Donald Trump.
And they sent betting odds surging in favour of the Republican. He switched to be the favourite on UK betting markets at 2am GMT.
3. Joe Biden thinks he’s going to win
Rufus Gifford, Biden’s Deputy Campaign Manager, tweeted simply: “We’re going to win”.
And Joe Biden made an appearance just before 6am GMT to back it up.
“We feel good about where we are, we really do”, the Democrat told supporters.
He said he was confident about Arizona – which Fox News said had “flipped” from red to blue, a projection which infuriated the Trump campaign.
He added he was “still in the game in Georgia” despite Trump appearing to be ahead, and “we’re feeling real good about Wisconsin and Michigan”.
“It’ll take time to count votes but we’re gonna win Pennsylvania”, he added.
4. But Donald Trump thinks Biden is trying to ‘steal’ the election
The President tweeted: “We are up BIG, but they are trying to STEAL the Election. We will never let them do it. Votes cannot be cast after the Poles are closed!” He later corrected it to “Polls”.
Twitter instantly slapped a disclaimer on the tweet, warning it may be misleading.
He was due to give a statement from the White House.
5. The Squad, marijuana and QAnon are all in
Last night also saw elections for the entire US House of Representatives and 35 of 100 seats in the Senate.
The Democrats were projected to retain control of the House and, crucially, win back the Senate from 53-47 Republican control.
Of hundreds of local races, a few stand out.
The four Democrat Congresswomen known as ‘the Squad’ – including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota – were on track to keep their seats.
On the other hand, a Republican who promoted the QAnon conspiracy theory and said “ George Soros ” was “trying to take me down” has won a seat in Congress.
Marjorie Taylor Greene won a seat in rural Georgia’s 14th District in the House of Representatives after her Democrat opponent dropped out.
Meanwhile, New Jersey was due to legalise recreational marijuana.
With the nail-biting Presidential results still pouring in and the threat of legal challenges, they may well need it.