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Trump wins Ohio, Florida amid US election thriller

Supporters of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump cheer as they watch election returns during an election night rally. PHOTO: AP

Republican nominee Donald Trump is projected to have won several key victories against Democratic rival Hillary Clinton as the race for US president pushes towards a close.

Projections show Trump winning the battleground states of Ohio, Florida and North Carolina – three crucial states in the race for the Oval Office.

The key swing state of Pennsylvania remains too close to call.

Clinton carried Virginia, Colorado and California. Her campaign had expected easy victories there, but the states took on new urgency as Trump picked up votes elsewhere. With a handful of other battleground states still undecided, neither candidate had cleared the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the White House.

The uncertainty sent Dow futures and Asian markets tumbling, reflecting investor concern over what a Trump presidency might mean for the economy and trade.

Projected election results

Clinton wins:

Nevada, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Hawaii, California, Virginia, New Mexico, Illinois, New York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, Vermont, Delaware and the District of Columbia

Trump wins:

Utah, Iowa, Georgia, Wyoming, North Carolina, Idaho, Florida, Ohio, Missouri, Montana, Louisiana, Texas, Nebraska, Kansas, South Dakota, North Dakota, Texas, Wyoming, Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Indiana

As Clinton’s team anxiously waited for results to roll in, the candidate tweeted to supporters, “Whatever happens tonight, thank you for everything”.

Florida is the largest of the “swing states” with 29 electoral votes.

The sunshine state is a “make or break” state for Trump, according to analyst Allan Lichtman, who has correctly predicted the outcome of the elections for the past 30 years.

Al Jazeera, reporting from Columbus Ohio, said that the candidate that wins Ohio traditionally wins the eleciton.

“If you win Ohio, you win the presidency.”

US television networks have projected that Republicans will retain control of the lower chamber of Congress known as the House of Representatives, where all 435 seats were up for grabs.

While the state of Ohio was blue in the two previous elections, Tuesday’s result was not an unexpected loss for Clinton.

Eighty percent of the population in the state of Ohio is white – compared to 65 percent nationally- a demographic that favoured Trump.

Also only 3 percent of the population of Ohio is Latino, a demographic that is expected to overwhelmingly vote for Clinton.

“We have seen in Florida for example, early voting was of the charts for Latino voters, probably voting for Hillary Clinton,” said Al Jazeera.

“Hillary Clinton could not rely on the Latino vote here and that made wining very difficult for her.”

Trump hinted again on Tuesday that he would refuse to accept election results if he loses.

“We’re going to see how things play out,” Trump told Fox News on Tuesday, alleging that there had been voting irregularities. “I want to see everything honest.”

Trump filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against the Clark County Registrar of Voters in the state of Nevada, alleging that early voting stations were open longer than the designated time.

A Nevada judge denied Trump’s request for state voting records on the grounds that the request would potentially put voters at risk of “ridicule and harassment”.