Avery Steimel, left, and Megan Cattrell laugh with volunteers from the Madison County Democratic Party as they hand out information to voters at Mars Hill Elementary on Tuesday. Colby Rabon / Carolina Public Press

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Donald Trump supporters do some last minute campaigning just outside of the polling area at North Buncombe Elementary School in Weaverville on Tuesday. Colby Rabon / Carolina Public Press

As attention turned to North Carolina and other battleground states Tuesday night, in the end, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump led by nearly 4 percentage points over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, helping boost Trump and running mate Mike Pence to a victory that defied the predictions of many polls.

Just before 3 a.m. Wednesday morning, Trump announced that Clinton had called him to concede the national contest. Trump called on Americans to mend their differences and welcomed guidance from those who had refused to support him. He called for a new investment in rebuilding U.S. infrastructure to make the country second to none. He congratulated Clinton on a hard-fought race and thanked her for many years of service to the country.

North Carolina was one of several supposed “battleground” states that Trump swept on his path to victory, along with a group of Northern “rustbelt” states in the Republican candidate reversed recent Democratic successes. Of the “battlegrounds,” Trump won North Carolina, Florida and Ohio, while leading in Arizona; Clinton won Nevada and Colorado and was leading in New Hampshire. But Trump emerged on top in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, while holding a narrow lead as counting continued Wednesday morning in Michigan — Clinton had been expected to stage close but clear victories in each of those states.

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Across Western North Carolina, Clinton led only in traditionally Democratic Buncombe County, as well as Watauga County, which has a strong student vote. She led in the Piedmont’s major urban counties and in rural counties with large African American populations in the the northeastern portion of the state.

In North Carolina’s U.S. Senate race, Republican incumbent Richard Burr also held lead over Democratic challenger Deborah Ross. Burr led by roughly 6 percentage points.

In other federal races affecting North Carolina, Republican incumbents Patrick McHenry, Mark Meadows and Virginia Foxx all held their congressional seats.

Results with 100 percent of precincts reporting

President

*Donald Trump, R, 49.9%
Hillary Clinton, D, 46.13%
Gary Johnson, L, 2.72%

U.S. Senate

*Richard Burr, R, 51.11%
Deborah Ross, D, 45.33%
Sean Haugh, L, 3.56%

U.S. House District 5

*Virginia Foxx, R, 58.46%
Josh Brannon, D, 41.54%

U.S. House District 10

*Patrick McHenry, R, 63.15%
Andy Millard, D, 36.85%

U.S. House District 11

*Mark Meadows, R, 64.09%
Rick Bryson, D, 35.91%

Executive Director Angie Newsome contributed to this report.

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Frank Taylor

Frank Taylor is the managing editor of Carolina Public Press. Contact him at ftaylor@carolinapublicpress.org.

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