(NEXSTAR) – Perhaps the closest race on the electoral map took a dramatic turn early Friday morning when former Vice President Joe Biden edged ahead of President Donald Trump in the Georgia vote count.
Trump built a commanding lead in early totals Tuesday, but Biden steadily chipped away at the lead as absentee ballots were totaled across the state. In the early morning Friday, several small batches of votes cut President Trump’s lead to less than 700 votes. Just before 4:30 a.m. local time, Democratic-leaning Clayton County reported a batch of just under 2,000 votes, pushing Biden more than 800 votes into the lead, according to published reports.
The state remained far too close to call, but the shift toward Biden further dims hopes of a comeback for President Trump.
Georgia has long been a Republican stronghold. Voters there haven’t swung for a Democratic presidential candidate since Bill Clinton in 1992. Trump beat Hillary Clinton there by 5 percentage points in 2016. And the state’s government is dominated by the GOP.
But the party’s grip has loosened. As older, white, Republican-leaning voters die, they are being replaced by younger and more racially diverse cast of people, many of whom moved to the booming Atlanta area from other states — and brought their politics with them.
Overall, demographic trends show that the state’s electorate is becoming younger and more diverse each year. Like other metro areas, Atlanta’s suburbs have also moved away from Republicans. In 2016, Hillary Clinton flipped both Cobb and Gwinnett counties, where Biden is currently leading.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.