- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Hillary Clinton won Virginia on Tuesday night, capturing the key swing state and fending off Republican Donald Trump in a nail-biter that ended up much closer than the Clinton campaign — and virtually all political pundits — had anticipated.

Networks called the race just before 10:30 p.m., three hours after the polls closed, giving the former first lady the state’s 13 electoral votes and preventing a loss that would’ve reshaped the presidential race.

With about 84 percent of the vote in, Mrs. Clinton led Mr. Trump 47.8 percent to 47.1 percent.

A Republican stronghold for four decades before flipping in 2008, Virginia seemed to be Clinton country from the early days of this general election campaign. Mrs. Clinton also banked on the fact that her running mate, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, would help deliver the state for Democrats. Mr. Kaine had previously served as the state’s governor and the mayor of the capital city of Richmond.

While Tuesday night’s result in Virginia was closer than predicted, surveys consistently had shown Mrs. Clinton with a clear advantage.

The most recent Real Clear Politics average of all polls gave the former secretary of state a 5-point advantage over Mr. Trump, and she’s led in virtually every poll since the summer.

Only one poll over the last five months — a Hampton University survey released late last month — showed the Republican with a lead.

The Clinton campaign began banking on a victory in Virginia weeks ago, when it scaled back rallies across the state and pulled much of its paid advertising from the airwaves. It redirected money that money to congressional Democrats in tight races across the country.

The state transformed into a presidential battleground in 2008, when then-Sen. Barack Obama captured Virginia with 52.6 percent of the vote, compared to 46 percent for Republican Sen. John McCain. It was the first time the state had voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since 1964.

Mr. Obama also won the state in 2012, garnering 51 percent of the vote to 47 percent for Republican Mitt Romney.

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