WASHINGTON - U.S. President-elect Joe Biden gained 87 votes in Wisconsin as a partial recount of ballots cast was completed Sunday, cementing his 20,000-vote victory over President Donald Trump in the Midwestern political battleground state.
The Trump campaign paid $3 million for the recount of the 800,000 votes in the two most heavily Democratic areas of the state, in Wisconsin's biggest city of Milwaukee and in Madison, the state capital, in hopes of upending Biden's claim to the state's 10 electoral votes.
Instead, however, Wisconsin became the latest state where Trump, a Republican, has failed in recounts to overturn the November 3 vote favoring his Democratic challenger or win lawsuits alleging vote and vote-counting fraud cost him a second four-year term in the White House.
Biden holds an unofficial 306-232 advantage in the Electoral College that determines the outcome of U.S. presidential elections, not the national popular vote, although Biden leads there, too, by more than 6 million votes.
Biden is set to be inaugurated as the country's 46th president on January 20, and, at 78, its oldest leader. Last week, he named his first Cabinet nominees and plans to announce the names of key economic officials this week.
The Electoral College balloting occurs on December 14, with the largest states casting the most votes. Trump said last week he would leave the White House when his term ends, if Biden, as expected, wins the Electoral College vote.
Trump has yet to concede the election, and his campaign has lost more than 30 lawsuits contesting the outcome in key states.
Ahead of the outcome of the recount in Wisconsin, Trump said Saturday on Twitter, "The Wisconsin recount is not about finding mistakes in the count, it is about finding people who have voted illegally, and that case will be brought after the recount is over, on Monday or Tuesday. We have found many illegal votes. Stay tuned!"
But in Dane County, where Madison is located, election official Scott McDonell said the recount uncovered no instances of fraud and that the second look at the vote count there should "reassure" the public about its accuracy.
Trump, however, continued his unfounded accusations about irregularities in the election in a Sunday interview with Fox News's Maria Bartiromo.
"Joe Biden did not get 80 million votes," Trump contended. "I got 74 million votes, and everybody thought it was over" on Election Night.
"And then all the mail-in voting started happening," he said. "This election is a total fraud."
Democrats supporting Biden, by millions more than Republicans voting for Trump, cast mail-in ballots that often were counted in the days after the election, in some instances because state laws did not permit them to be counted until after polls closed.
Without evidence, Trump alleged, "They stuffed the ballot boxes, you know that. How come there are thousands of dead people voting?"
"My mind will not change in six months," he concluded. "There was tremendous cheating."
Trump said his campaign is pursuing appeals of lawsuits he has lost to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Increasingly, Republican officials, although hardly all of them, are acknowledging Biden's victory.
On Sunday, Republican Missouri Senator Roy Blunt, who is overseeing the inauguration planning at the U.S. Capitol, told CNN, "We're working with the Biden administration, the likely administration, on both the transition and the inauguration as if we're moving forward," although he stopped short of acknowledging Trump lost the election.
Governor Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas is one of a few Republicans to refer to Biden as the president-elect.
"The transition is what is important. The words of President Trump are not quite as significant," Hutchinson told "Fox News Sunday."