The Baltimore Sun

Obama declared winner in North Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C.: President-elect Barack Obama won North Carolina yesterday, a triumph that underscored his political strength as he turned nine states that President Bush won in 2004 to Democratic blue. The Associated Press declared Obama the winner after canvassing counties in North Carolina to determine the number of outstanding provisional ballots. That survey found that there are not enough remaining ballots for Republican John McCain to close a 13,693-vote deficit. North Carolina's 15 electoral votes brings Obama's total to 364 - nearly 100 more than necessary to win the White House - to McCain's 162. Missouri is the only state that remains too close to call, with McCain leading by several thousand votes.

Democrat ousts Oregon Sen. Gordon H. Smith

PORTLAND, Ore.: Democrat Jeff Merkley has ousted Republican Sen. Gordon H. Smith, a victory once considered unlikely against an incumbent who had highlighted his efforts to work across the aisle in hopes of surviving a wave of anti-GOP sentiment. Smith's loss - the first for an Oregon senator in 40 years - means Democrats are poised to have at least 57 votes in the Senate next year. He had been the last GOP senator standing in the three Pacific Coast states south of Alaska.

Minnesota Senate race remains undecided

ST. PAUL, Minn.: One Senate candidate says the voters have spoken. The other says the electorate still needs to be heard. In the end, experts say, it could be the courts or even the Senate that speaks the loudest on Minnesota's unsettled Senate race. While the race is headed for an automatic recount, Republican Sen. Norm Coleman and Democratic challenger Al Franken have other options to alter the outcome. The recount is due to start once results are made official Nov. 18, and it could take weeks. Coleman clung to a 342-vote lead, out of nearly 2.9 million votes cast, as election officials around the state double-checked their reports. After a recount, the candidates or any eligible voter can head to court to challenge how the election was conducted or the votes were tallied. The Minnesota law spelling out the contest raises the possibility of Senate involvement. Minnesota's race is one of three up in the air nationwide. Races in Georgia and Alaska are also unresolved.

Iran's Ahmadinejad congratulates Obama

TEHRAN, Iran: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad congratulated Barack Obama yesterday on his election win - the first time an Iranian leader has offered such wishes to a U.S. president-elect since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. An analyst said Ahmadinejad's message was a gesture from the hard-line president that he is open to some sort of reconciliation with the U.S.

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