Election 2017

Upset: Donald Trump takes Pennsylvania, defying pollsters

PA is a critical state for the real estate mogul.

Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to the crowd during a campaign rally at the Giant Center in Hershey.

Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to the crowd during a campaign rally at the Giant Center in Hershey.

Jeremy Long/Lebanon Daily News via USA TODAY NETWORK

As Donald Trump rounded up states he was never expected to win, the nation’s eyes in many ways turned to Pennsylvania. As of 1:36 a.m., Trump has won the state and, likely, the White House.

He topped former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by slim margins in PA, but the race has been called in his favor. Pennsylvania, part of what Democrats have called the “blue firewall,” was a crucial state for Trump’s hopes of a path to winning 270 electoral votes. The state also hasn’t voted in a Republican president in a general election since 1988 when George H.W. Bush won the state.

Both Trump and Clinton expended massive amounts of resources in Pennsylvania trying to win over undecided voters. Clinton held Democratic strongholds in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Republicans almost always hold the “T” region of the state, or the areas in between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. But Trump’s message resonated beyond that, especially in central and southwest Pennsylvania where working class voters were frustrated with the political system.

Trump visited the state more than a dozen times and held events, speeches and rallies from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia and everywhere in between.

Still, Trump’s win in the Keystone State was improbable. In addition to leading statewide, Clinton led for months in the voter-rich Philadelphia suburbs that have in recent years shifted from red to blue. She led by double digits in polls there, especially among college-educated women who told pollsters they were bothered by Trump.

He managed to win them over despite being one of the most divisive in recent memory. He started his campaign by laying out an immigration plan and saying Mexico is sending “rapists” and “murderers” to America. He proposed banning Muslims from entering the country. And to top it off, last month a 2005 Access Hollywood tape was released showing Trump bragging about using his celebrity to grope women. After its release, more than 10 women came forward saying they were sexually assaulted by Trump.

It’s possible the scandals associated with Clinton though swayed Pennsylvania voters just a little bit more, namely concerns about her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state and concerns about how she and her family may have used funds donated to the Clinton Foundation.

Trump also promised to bring manufacturing jobs back to Pennsylvania, and specifically told voters across the state that his economic plan would better benefit blue-collar Pennsylvanians.

He’ll be in New York tonight for a private election night event.

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