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U.S Elections: Trump holding the South while Biden awaits Midwest results

President Donald Trump and Joe Biden, his Democratic rival, traded victories in conservative and liberal states as they waited for the results in the battlegrounds that will decide the election, including Florida.

Trump won solidly conservative states across the South, including Tennessee and South Carolina, as well as Republican strongholds of Indiana and Missouri. Biden took big states in the north-east like New York and Massachusetts, as well as Barack Obama’s home state of Illinois, all states where the former vice-president had been expecting victories.

As results started to pour in from eastern states, both candidates focused on Florida, where the race was incredibly tight. With 91 per cent of the vote counted, Trump had a 2.2 point lead. Florida is one of the most important swing states as it awards 29 of the 270 electoral college votes required to win the White House. It is particularly critical to Trump whose path to 270 would be almost impossible without a victory there.

Biden does not need to win Florida to take the White House, but he was hoping that he could win back the Sunshine State after Trump’s victory in the state four years ago. A loss in the state would put more pressure on Biden to win Pennsylvania, another crucial battleground.

Larry Sabato, a University of Virginia politics professor, said losing Florida would be a “big setback” for Mr Biden. “Now the pressure for a big win in a swing state is on the Democrats. Coming close means nothing.” Chuck Rocha, who ran a successful Latino outreach programme for Senator Bernie Sanders during the Democratic primary, said Mr Biden’s “horrible” result in Miami Dade — a county with a population of 2.7m where 70 per cent of residents are Hispanic — showed Democrats had underinvested in Hispanic voters.

“Tonight proves the Latino vote is a persuadable universe, but Democrats did not treat it as such,” Mr Rocha said. “So we are paying the price for not starting early and often, as they did with persuadable white voters.” He stressed that Mr Biden would do better with Hispanics in other swing states, such as Arizona, which do not have as many conservative Cuban-Americans as Florida. “But it’s not as good as it could have been if the Democrats had hired Latino operatives and started way earlier,” he added.

At 10pm eastern time, none of the swing states had been called for either of the candidates. Aside from Florida, Mr Trump and Mr Biden were paying close attention to battlegrounds such as North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Georgia.

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