Political News

AP: Obama adds N.C. victory to White House win

The Associated Press declared Barack Obama the winner Thursday after canvassing counties in North Carolina to determine the number of outstanding provisional ballots.
Posted 2008-11-06T17:20:26+00:00 - Updated 2008-11-06T20:29:04+00:00

President-elect Barack Obama has won North Carolina, adding 15 electoral votes to his wide victory margin and a symbolic triumph in a state that hadn't voted for a Democrat for president in more than a generation.

The Associated Press declared Obama the winner Thursday after canvassing counties in North Carolina to determine the number of outstanding provisional ballots.

That survey found there are not enough remaining ballots for Republican candidate John McCain to close a 13,693-vote deficit.

Johnnie McClain of the State Board of Elections said  the board doesn't have a total number of provisional ballots, but officials estimate it will be around 40,000.

Provisional ballots will be counted by individual counties in the coming days, and the state board will certify state totals on Nov. 25, McClain said.

If Obama wins North Carolina, the state's 15 electoral votes would bring his total to 364 – nearly 100 more than necessary to win the White House. Missouri is the only other state that remains too close to call.

The win in North Carolina would be the first for a Democratic presidential candidate since Jimmy Carter won the state in 1976.

Meanwhile Thursday, Democratic officials said U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel agreed to be Obama's White House chief of staff.

Emanuel, a Democrat from Illinois who serves in the House Democratic leadership, served as a political and policy aide in the Clinton White House. His selection is a shift in tone for Obama, who chose more low-key leadership for his first presidential campaign.

Obama advisers said he was selecting the leaders of the new government with a priority on care over speed, with no plans to announce Cabinet positions this week.

Other White House officials were being lined up, including Robert Gibbs as the likely pick for press secretary, several Obama aides said. Gibbs, who attended North Carolina State University and whose parents live in Apex, has been Obama's longtime spokesman and confidant and was at Obama's side from his 2004 Senate campaign through the long days on the presidential campaign trail.

Obama plans his first public appearance since his presidential victory for Friday – a meeting with economic advisers to discuss the nation's financial woes that Americans listed as their top concern on Election Day.

Obama plans to talk to the news media Friday afternoon following the meeting, aides said. He and his wife, Michelle, will visit the White House on Monday at President Bush's invitation, aides said.