Republican Donald Trump has been elected the President of the United States, US networks reported on Tuesday. The billionaire clinched his White House occupancy by winning vital battleground states on Tuesday night, stunning Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Past midnight in America, Trump was just 16 votes short of reaching the 270 Electoral College votes need to win. Trump, who entered election night as an underdog, gained an advantage over Clinton after winning the swing states of Ohio, Florida and North Carolina. He also won Pennsylvania, which has voted Democrats in the past several elections.
At 8:55 pm EST, Clinton acknowledged a battle that was unexpectedly tight given her edge in opinion polls going into Election Day.
She tweeted: "This team has so much to be proud of. Whatever happens tonight, thank you for everything."
Both candidates scored victories in states where they were expected to win. Trump captured conservative states in the South and Midwest, while Clinton swept several states on the East Coast and Illinois in the Midwest.
As a large number of American voters appeared to have shrugged off concerns over Trump's lack of experience and temperament, the mood was steadily buoyant inside his party at a hotel ballroom a few blocks from Trump Tower. Cheers and high-fives accompanied every win for Trump. In contrast, the anticipation and excitement in Clinton's election night headquarters at the Javits Center in Manhattan began to fade. Supporters were seen streaming out as disappointing results poured in.
Also at stake on Tuesday was control of Congress. Television networks projected Republicans would retain control of the House of Representatives, where all 435 seats were up for grabs.
In the Senate, where Republicans were defending a slim four-seat majority, Democrats scored their first breakthrough in Illinois when Republican Senator Mark Kirk lost re-election. But Republicans Rob Portman in Ohio and Marco Rubio in Florida won high-profile Senate re-election fights.
In a presidential campaign that focused more on the character of the candidates than on policy, Clinton, 69, a former US secretary of state, and Trump, 70, accused each other of being fundamentally unfit to lead the country.