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Why Biden's win in Georgia is historic

The victory comes after a lengthy process of machine counting - then a hand re-tallying of those same votes during an audit - of the more than 5 million ballots cast

ATLANTA — Two weeks and two days after election day, the dramatic Georgia presidential race has been called.

As of Thursday night, the Associated Press projects Joe Biden the winner of Georgia and the state's 16 electoral votes. NBC News previously called the race for Biden.

The victory comes after a lengthy, and sometimes drama-filled, process of machine counting - then a hand re-tallying of those same votes during an audit - of the more than 5 million ballots cast in the election. The results of the audit, released Thursday night, reaffirmed Biden's lead in the state, according to the Secretary of State's Office. The race was called soon after, with the final margin at 12,284 votes between the two candidates.

Biden, who initially trailed the President by a wide margin on election night, was able to close that gap over the course of two weeks of counting each and every ballot. He was ultimately able to surpass Trump, likely thanks to the number absentee, mail-in and drop-off ballots that were favored by Democrats during an election year plagued by the coronavirus pandemic. 

The win for Biden, which came more than a week after he was projected to become president-elect, is significant. Historically, Georgia has been a solid Republican state, and has not voted for a Democrat since it elected Bill Clinton in 1992. The only other exception in which a Democrat got its vote was Georgia-born Jimmy Carter in 1976 and 1980. 

Trump won the state by more than points in 2016, and prior to that, Romney took Georgia by nearly 8 points in 2012. But, Georgia’s changing demographics has moved it solidly into swing-state status, making it one of the 12 battleground states to watch in the national election 

The shift first emerged ithe 2016 election, when both Cobb and Gwinnett counties flipped from red to blue. Two years later, in 2018, Democrat Lucy McBath also won the state’s 6th Congressional District, flipping the seat – again from red to blue – in the once-conservative stronghold. Add to that, the razor-thin margin by which Republican Gov. Brian Kemp won the 2018 gubernatorial race with Democrat Stacey Abrams. 

That trend of a blue shift seemed to hold this year, too, with close Senate races and many Republicans incumbents in Cobb unseated. And in Gwinnett County, District Attorney Danny Porter, a Republican, lost to Democrat Patsy Austin-Gatson