While news networks projected President Bush as the winner in Ohio, the Kerry camp says, "not so fast," and refuses to concede the key battleground state.
With 99 percent of the precincts reporting, Bush has 51 percent of the vote compared to the senator's 48 percent.
Although networks say they felt comfortable calling the state for Bush, who holds more than a 144,000-vote margin, Kerry campaign officials scolded the networks for jumping the gun, emphasizing the provisional ballots yet to be counted push the outstanding votes well beyond the current margin.
"The vote count in Ohio has not been completed. There are more than 250,000 remaining votes to be counted. We believe when they are, John Kerry will win Ohio," Kerry campaign manager Mary Beth Cahill said in a statement.
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Sen. John Edwards made an appearance before more than a thousand campaign backers assembled for a victory celebration at Copley Square in Boston at 2:30 a.m. Eastern.
The tired looking, but upbeat vice presidential candidate thanked supporters in a brief address and pledged a fight to the finish.
"It's been a long night but we've waited four years for this victory; we can wait one more night," he said amid cheers. "John Kerry and I made a promise to the American people that in this election every vote would count and every vote would be counted. Tonight we are keeping our word and we will fight for every vote. You deserve no less."
Campaign attorneys are poised for challenges to the provisional ballots. Kerry spokeswoman Jen Palmieri earlier told Fox News the campaign had 3,200 lawyers and paralegals on standby in Ohio.
Analysts say the threat of challenges to every provisional ballot poses the specter of delaying the outcome of the presidential race for more than a week.