Donald Trump wins battleground state of North Carolina

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US President Donald Trump pauses while speaking at the Economic Club of New York at the New York Hilton Midtown November 12, 2019, in New York, New York. – European stock markets closed higher on Tuesday, helped by speculation that US President Donald Trump will postpone a tariffs decision on European-made cars. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — President Donald Trump has won the presidential battleground state of North Carolina over Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

Trump campaigned aggressively in North Carolina with in-person rallies at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, including gatherings in Fayetteville, Winston-Salem and Greenville. Biden had largely kept off the physical campaign trail and did not personally visit the state in the last 16 days of the election.

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper fared much better than Biden, winning his race against Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest on election night Nov. 3 by more than 4 percentage points.

Biden’s campaign hoped the counting of as many as 116,000 mail-in absentee ballots in subsequent days would overwhelmingly swing in his favor, but he fell short of surpassing Trump. Regardless, Biden’s victory in Pennsylvania on Saturday propelled him past the 270 electoral votes necessary to win the presidential election. Trump’s win in North Carolina gives him 15 electoral votes, reducing his deficit to 290-232.

Biden holds a slim lead in Georgia, where 16 electoral votes are up for grabs. The race remains too close to call and is undergoing an audit.

The former vice president frequently criticized Trump’s handling of the virus and his decision to hold in-person rallies with minimal mask wearing. Trump sought to convince voters he would be better equipped to restore the economy to its pre-pandemic strength.

Trump carried North Carolina in 2016 over then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Former President Barack Obama was the most recent Democrat to win the presidential race in North Carolina, in 2008.

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