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Polls Close In Ohio, North Carolina And West Virginia


It's now just after 7:30 p.m. on the East Coast. Polls have just closed in two battleground states - Ohio and North Carolina - also in West Virginia. But first let's recap what we know so far. NPR political editor Domenico Montanaro and NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson are both in the studio. Domenico, I want to start with you. Where does the race stand now in terms of states and electoral college votes?

DOMENICO MONTANARO, BYLINE: Well, so far we've had only a few polls with results - a few states with results I should say. And so far you have three calls for Donald Trump - Indiana, Kentucky and West Virginia. You have one for Hillary Clinton in Vermont. So at this point, it's 24 to 3, but we've got a long way to go tonight.

And a couple new calls in the - in some key Senate races, one in particular in Ohio - Senator Rob Portman, the Republican who had been in a tight race early on and was expected to be in a tight race at poll close time. He is called the winner by the Associated Press, which is really fascinating because everyone expects that the Ohio race at the presidential level should come down to the wire. It's within margin of error, although our map gives him a little - gives Trump a little bit of a lead there. So the race that Rob Portman has run has been quite something.

CORNISH: Mara, I want you to jump in on that because this is going to be the story for the rest of the night - right? - how...

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: Yes, this is...

CORNISH: ...People perform down-ballot.

LIASSON: Right, well, we - we're waiting to see the difference between Portman's margin and Trump's margin in Ohio. What Rob Portman did is not only did he build a really good campaign of his own. And don't forget the governor of the state, John Kasich, was not helping Donald Trump at all, so he wasn't lending Donald Trump his statewide machinery.

But Rob Portman built a great campaign. But more importantly, he is a former USTR for George W. Bush, and he repudiated the Republican traditional position on trade. He came out against TPP.

CORNISH: Right, a trade representative...

LIASSON: Right, right.

CORNISH: ...Coming out against it now.

LIASSON: So you have this extraordinary spectacle of a - basically a Rust Belt state getting more downwardly mobile, more white, working-class. And you have Rob Portman, who has changed his stripes to fit with his new constituency.

CORNISH: I want to stop you there. We're going to have some senators on the line, right, Robert? Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Mara Liasson is a national political correspondent for NPR. Her reports can be heard regularly on NPR's award-winning newsmagazine programs Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Liasson provides extensive coverage of politics and policy from Washington, DC — focusing on the White House and Congress — and also reports on political trends beyond the Beltway.
Domenico Montanaro is NPR's senior political editor/correspondent. Based in Washington, D.C., his work appears on air and online delivering analysis of the political climate in Washington and campaigns. He also helps edit political coverage.