- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Donald Trump came out on top in North Carolina on Tuesday night, dealing a crushing blow to Hillary Clinton and inching closer to the 270 electoral votes needed to claim the White House.

Networks called the race just after 11 p.m., hours after the polls closed. With about 93 percent of the vote in, the billionaire Republican had 51.1 percent of the vote to 46.1 for Mrs. Clinton, winning a state the Clinton campaign had poured time, resources, and money into over the final weeks of the campaign. With the victory, Mr. Trump claims 15 electoral votes.

North Carolina had become one of the biggest battlegrounds of the 2016, with both the Trump and Clinton campaigns identifying the state as a necessity.

Mrs. Clinton, for example, held her final campaign rally of the cycle in the state, stopping in for a late-night speech in Raleigh on Monday. President Obama, Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Sen. Bernard Sanders and other key Democratic surrogates also had become mainstays in the state over the past several months.

Mr. Trump also visited the state on Monday, hoping to pry the state away from Mrs. Clinton.

Polls have shown a dead heat in North Carolina over the past several weeks. The most recent Real Clear Politics average of all polls gave Mr. Trump a razor-thin 0.8-point lead. Other surveys over the past two weeks had wildly different results, ranging from an 7-point lead for Mr. Trump to an 8-point lead for Mrs. Clinton.

The state was a true battleground, having flipped from 2008 to 2012. North Carolina had been a Republican stronghold for three decades, but Mr. Obama won the state in 2008.

It flipped back into GOP hands when Republican Mitt Romney narrowly edged out Mr. Obama in 2012.

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