It was Friday night, and Joe Biden’s campaign was poised for an out of society celebration party.
But all in vain.
Instead of declaring victory on the commanding stage and brightly lit, just before 11 p.m., Biden stood behind a simple podium on a smaller space set up in a chunk of the Chase Center. urge patience.
“My fellow Americans, we haven̵7;t had a final statement yet,” said Biden, to his running partner, Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), Standing nearby. , “But the numbers. . . tell us a clear and compelling story. We will win this race. “
Biden said he will work for all Americans, regardless of party. “We may be rivals, but we are not enemies. We are Americans, ”he said, with his senior staff watching from the back of the room. “I will work hard for those who voted against me as well as I will work for those who voted for me.”
As for Biden’s staff, after 18 months of campaigning, being spurned by party sponsors, they finished fourth in Iowa, then dropped to fifth in New Hampshire, and finally won the nomination and heard Democrats complain about how they run the campaign so tense for months, they believe they have proved the critics wrong.
Now all they need is one or two kills to call the race and announce Biden’s election. They need a bigger lead in Pennsylvania or a bigger profit margin in Georgia or some extra votes in Arizona and a call in Nevada.
As Biden’s team members allow themselves to absorb the news that they are close to winning, the landscape around them is changing. The next president might be among them. The Federal Aviation Administration has issued temporary flight restrictions over Wilmington airspace starting from 2 p.m. Friday to Wednesday next week.
The Secret Service sent reinforcements to Delaware to provide a security fit for a team about to lead the country. Officers who had been in Wilmington expanded their occupation of the coveted Westin rooms adjacent to the Chase Center, where Biden’s team was based on election night.
Now they only need a few more votes to make it official.
Local supporters began arriving at the Wilmington Riverfront area in the early afternoon, taking advantage of the unusually warm, 70 degrees Celsius weather to review history.
Ron Ozer, a chemical engineering professor at Villanova University, and his wife held a picnic just outside the black fence blocking the security area. They have iPads for listening to MSNBC. They have crackers. They have folding chairs. They are ready to wait.
They didn’t come down on Tuesday night and they said like that evening, they became “disappointed” to see so much support for President Trump.
“Logically, we know that there are a lot of votes to count,” said Ozer. “But it doesn’t really sink in.”
Justin Smith, 16, drove from New Jersey to Wilmington with his family to meet Biden on Friday. “He has a positive attitude to making America all back,” said Smith. “Not so great, because I feel like America can never be great again because of its race [tension] and bad politics in the judicial system, ”added Smith, African-American.
Nathan Jenkins sold a blue t-shirt and sweatshirt with the words “I survived Covid-19” and “virus 45,” referring to Trump. Jenkins said that the consequences of the prolonged election were “a little bit nervous.”
“Sometimes you think it’ll be 2016 again,” he said. “But when things started to work, I felt better. Honestly, I was a bit worried on election night.
As that day passed, Biden’s allies shifted their views on the possibility of a festival – with unsuccessful networks, the Biden campaign contemplated the possibility of waiting for another day before bringing Biden and Harris is out to declare victory.
There are mixed signals about what the evening will take.
Around 4pm, some of Biden’s top staff were spotted walking out of Chase Center, back to their hotel rooms. That’s the wrong direction for a celebration.
Then, around 5:20 pm, a truck used to transport the Biden’s step-by-step press was towed to the Westin. Is this a sign that Biden will soon be tidying up from the house nearby?
As longtime Biden followers chat, many agree that the delay appears to be the right coda for a campaign activity that is chronically (and often inexplicable) late in itself. .
The unofficial election night began around 3pm Tuesday, when Biden aides asked reporters to attend the Westin Hotel and arrange in a second floor meeting room to wait for the results. Someone delivered dozens of white roses to Biden employees, to honor the work they did.
It was a skeleton crew, with just a few staff members, a handful of journalists and production team staff prepared to see Biden and Harris deliver the winning speech.
Instead, Biden and his wife surfaced briefly, promising an update the next day.
In the brightly-lit Westin lobby at around 1 a.m. on Wednesday, Biden strategist Mike Donilon waited for a truck to take him elsewhere. He’s against reporters eagerly with some excerpts.
About eight hours later, in the same hallway, top strategist Anita Dunn chatted briefly with reporters after taking her daily coronavirus test. She had only been sleeping for an hour. “You can’t stand this close to me,” she told reporters as she explained why the team was confident.
“We always say the goal is to get 270 electoral votes,” said Dunn. “We feel very confident that after the votes have been counted, that’s where we will go.”
Biden also arrived at the Chase Center on Wednesday, speaking briefly to reporters, with Harris at his side, to urge patience. “Power cannot be used or asserted,” Biden said. “It flows from the people.”
By Thursday, as the results continued to decline, resources on the banks of the Wilmington River showed tension. A Starbucks store has almost all the pastries. A nearby restaurant at Hotel Du Pont ran out of pumpkin soup. The hotel room disappeared. Biden and Harris received short meetings on the pandemic and the economy. Secret agents became aware of the people who entered and exited the security area regularly.
Dunn and her husband, Bob Bauer, a leading election attorney for the campaign, were found walking along the Christina River, a tributary of the Delaware River.
Friday kicked off with a fresh thrill among the Biden campaign’s top employees as they began gathering at Westin mid-morning for a daily coronavirus checkup. Early Friday morning, The campaign took a little lead in Georgia. And as of 8:45 a.m. also shows Biden taking the lead in his hometown Pennsylvania.
“We are very confident and excited,” said Symone Sanders, the campaign’s senior adviser, as soon as she walked through a large stage that was built about a week earlier.
Another Biden aide, sipping iced coffee near a security checkpoint, offered a billion-dollar account. “When we took the lead in Pennsylvania, it felt more real than it was,” said the aide. “Twitter lights up. The signal lights up, ”said the aide, referring to the secure messaging platform that many in politics use.
The aide has asked about exactly when a Biden winning speech could happen, but many had predicted it Friday night.
The aide, who is not allowed to comment publicly and speak on condition of anonymity, previewed Biden’s message. “Joe Biden since the day he announced his candidacy has been aimed at bringing people together and on ending that chaotic, toxic split mood of the country,” the aide said, adding that Biden “will want to go out and keep delivering messages.”
But as the sun sets in Wilmington on Friday, the likelihood of a winning speech from Biden has dwindled. The new campaign realizes that they need to wait Thursday before The planned celebrations could begin.
And for the white roses that arrived on Election Day, they withered.