By an extremely slim margin — just 13,693 votes, which is less than he won Buncombe County by — Sen. Barack Obama has taken North Carolina and its 15 electoral votes, becoming the first Democratic presidential candidate to do so since 1976.
The Associated Press called the race after determining that there were not enough ballots outstanding for Republican candidate Sen. John McCain to make up his deficit. Obama won Buncombe County by 17,179 votes. While many parts of the county went for McCain, Obama took Asheville, Swannanoa and the central part of Black Mountain, according to the current county results from the State Board of Elections.
The win boosts Obama’s projected electoral vote total to 364 to McCain’s 163, with Missouri still too close to call, according to the AP.
Buncombe was one of three counties in Western North Carolina to turn Democratic blue, along with Watauga and Jackson counties.
Obama targeted the state extensively, with an active ground organization and many volunteers. Both campaigns targeted Asheville, with Obama speaking here to a large crowd in early October and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican vice-presidential candidate, packing the Civic Center on Oct. 26.
All the counts are technically unofficial until the state certifies them on Dec. 1.
— David Forbes, staff writer