These are the states to watch closely on election night

A voter deposits his advance ballot in a dropbox Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020, in Mission, Kan. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)
A voter deposits his advance ballot in a dropbox Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020, in Mission, Kan. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden each have a path to win the White House. The former vice president is competitive in all the battleground states Trump carried in 2016, and has put a handful of traditional Republican states, including Georgia and Arizona, in play.

Trump can win by defending a wide swath of territory he won in 2016, but his hopes for reelection are heavily dependent on the swing states of Florida and Pennsylvania.

Grab the binoculars and focus on these 10 states as election returns start rolling in:

Florida: 29 electoral votes

All eyes are on Florida, a swing state known for razor-thin election tallies. If Trump doesn’t win Florida, he’s going to have a rough time capturing enough states to stay in office. If Biden doesn’t win the state, he still has other pathways to victory.

Don’t put the state in either candidates' win column too early. After the polls close, Florida election officials are expected to announced the results of millions of mail-in ballots cast early. If more Democrats voted in advance, it could make it look like Biden is winning. It’s important to keep watching as ballots cast on Election Day trickle in. The remaining votes might heavily favor Trump and allow him to eke out a win just as he did in 2016. Moreover, polls close an hour later in Florida’s Panhandle, which is a Republican stronghold.

Pennsylvania: 20 electoral votes

Trump won the long-running Democratic state of Pennsylvania in 2016 by a little more than 1 percentage point. Biden has had a slight advantage in most polls, while some suggest Trump remains positioned to capture the state again.