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Trump wins presidential race on strength of swing state victories

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Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton Final presidential debate on October 19,2016.

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NEW YORK — Donald Trump will become the next president of the United States in a stunning victory, CNN projects.

Trump won Arizona and Wisconsin, according to CNN projections. Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton called Trump early Wednesday morning to concede.

The GOP nominee picked up crucial battleground states earlier, including Florida, North Carolina and Ohio.

The victories are stunning for a candidate long seen as unlikely to win the presidency. Hillary Clinton’s campaign was confident it was competitive in places like Florida and North Carolina, and even sought to expand the map with recent visits to traditionally Republican states such as Arizona.

Clinton pulled out desperately needed wins in Virginia, Nevada and Colorado. Still, she faced a much stronger than expected challenge from Trump in the Midwest.

Clinton campaign chair John Podesta told supporters at 2 a.m. ET that votes were still being counted and that Clinton would not speak on election night.

“We can wait a little longer, can’t we?” he said. “She has done an amazing job and she is not done yet.”

The prospect of a Trump win quickly sent global markets tumbling, amid fears his vow to ditch global trade deals and brand China a currency manipulator would spark global economic shocks. Dow futures plummeted Tuesday night. Major indexes in Asia are also down.

As of 3:30 a.m. Wednesday, Trump had collected 289 electoral votes to Clinton’s 218.

Both candidates argue the election presents an unusually significant choice for a divided nation. Democrats warn that Trump, with his rhetoric on race, gender and immigration, would represent a rejection of core American values. Trump insists his campaign represents America’s last chance to drive out a corrupt political establishment that has turned its back on hard-working Americans.

New York is the center of the political universe this Election Day. This is the first campaign since 1944 in which both candidates are from the Empire State. And their election night parties are being held a mile and a half apart in Manhattan.

Route to 270

Clinton was counting on minority voters and highly-educated white women to take her to victory. Trump banked on a huge turnout from his less well-educated, less diverse coalition. Pollsters had given Clinton a small but steady lead nationally and are projecting tight races in some swing states.

At her last rally, past midnight in North Carolina, Clinton capped her campaign with the words “Love trumps hate.”

Trump took to Fox News on Tuesday morning to declare he was confident about the outcome.

“We’re going to win a lot of states. Who knows what happens, ultimately, but we’re going to win,” he said. The GOP nominee also took aim at polls showing that Clinton has the advantage.

“I think a lot of polls are purposely wrong. The media is extremely dishonest and I think a lot of polls are phony. I don’t think they interview people. I think they put out phony numbers,” Trump said on “Fox & Friends.”

Trump also appeared to be laying the groundwork for a legal challenge in the event of a close race. His campaign sued Clark County officials over an alleged decision to keep early voting polling stations open two extra hours. The lawsuit targets the greater Las Vegas area, which has large minority precincts.

A judge later denied Trump’s request.

The GOP nominee sent conflicting signals about his willingness to accept the result if he loses, telling News Radio 610 WTVN in Ohio that he would see what happens.

“You hear so many horrible stories and you see so many things that are wrong. So we’ll take a look. Certainly, I love this country and I believe in the system, you understand that,” he said.

Battle for Congress

The presidential election wasn’t the only close race Tuesday. Democrats battled to grab back the Senate from Republicans and scored their first pickup when war veteran Tammy Duckworth won her race against Republican Sen. Mark Kirk in Illinois.

Democrats need a net gain of five seats to recapture the Senate. If Clinton had won the presidency, four pickups would have been enough to allow her vice president, Tim Kaine, to cast the deciding vote in an evenly split chamber.

In the end, Republicans held. While two seats remained up for grabs, the GOP held a 51-47 edge, giving them the majority.

Republicans also hold a majority in the House of Representatives.