As vote-counting continued in five key states, a powerful House Democrat from western Massachusetts said trends point to a victory for former Vice President Joe Biden.
Asked to say on a scale of 1 to 10 how confident he is in a Biden victory, Massachusetts Democratic Congressman Richard Neal said he’s at the high end of the scale.
"I feel pretty good, right now I'd say 8 to 9," Neal said.
As Neal spoke in Springfield just before noon, Biden had 238 electoral college votes to President Donald Trump’s 213. The candidate who gets 270 wins.
Neal pointed to Michigan and Wisconsin where Biden has grabbed small leads and said he’s encouraged about the prospects in Pennsylvania where most of the votes that remain uncounted are in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, both Democratic strongholds.
" Mail-in balloting worked," said Neal who stressed the need to count every vote.
Speaking with reporters outside his district office in the federal courthouse, Neal said he does not think short-term uncertainty over who won the presidency hurts America in the eyes of the rest of the world.
" I don't think that is problematic," said Neal, who pointed out that the 2000 presidential election was not settled for six weeks after Election Day.
Democrats’ dreams of flipping the U.S. Senate appear to have been dashed, but Neal, who chairs the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, said that does not necessarily spell another two years of partisan gridlock.
" I think trying to figure out a path forward will be enhanced by the respect Joe Biden has for the institutional framework of the United State Senate," said Neal.
Neal said he spoke with members of the Biden transition team about five days before Election Day to discuss a legislative agenda for the lame duck session.
" The country needs a big stimulus bill," declared Neal.
Neal, who was unopposed for re-election, spent part of Election Day in New Hampshire helping to get out the vote for Biden.
Biden won all the New England states, New York and New Jersey.