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Donald Trump takes battleground states to become next US president

Republican nominee defeats challenger Hillary Clinton, elected to White House

NEW YORK – Donald Trump has been elected president of the United States.

The Republican nominee won Wednesday after capturing Wisconsin's 10 electoral votes, putting him over the 270 threshold.

Voters eager to shake up the nation's political establishment picked the celebrity businessman to become the nation's 45th president.

Trump took to the podium shortly before 3 a.m. inside a midtown Manhattan hotel ballroom where his victory party was being held.

A surprisingly humble Trump said Democratic rival Hillary Clinton called him to congratulate him on his victory. The concession came less than an hour after Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta told supporters that the race was "too close to call."

Podesta told the crowd that Clinton "has done an amazing job" and "is not done yet."

Trump said he congratulated Clinton and her family "on a very, very hard-fought campaign."

The billionaire-turned-reality television star won the battleground states of Pennsylvania, Ohio and his "second home" of Florida, dealing a devastating blow to Clinton's campaign.

His triumph over Clinton will end eight years of Democratic dominance of the White House and threatens to undo major achievements of President Barack Obama. He's pledged to act quickly to repeal Obama's landmark health care law, revoke the nuclear agreement with Iran and rewrite important trade deals with other countries, particularly Mexico and Canada.

The Republican blasted through Democrats' longstanding firewall, carrying Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, states that hadn't voted for a GOP presidential candidate since the 1980s. He needed to win nearly all of the competitive battleground states, and he did just that, claiming Florida, Ohio, North Carolina and others.

Global stock markets and U.S. stock futures plunged deeply, reflecting investor alarm over what a Trump presidency might mean for the economy and trade.

A New York real estate developer who lives in a sparking Manhattan high-rise, Trump forged a striking connection with white, working class Americans who feel left behind in a changing economy and diversifying country. He cast immigration, both from Latin America and the Middle East, as the root of the problems plaguing many Americans and taped into fears of terrorism emanating at home and abroad.

Trump will take office with Congress expected to be fully under Republican control. GOP Senate candidates fended off Democratic challengers in key states and appeared poised to maintain the majority. Republicans also maintained their grip on the House.

Senate control means Trump will have great leeway in appointing Supreme Court justices, which could mean a major change to the right that would last for decades.

Trump upended years of political convention on his way to the White House, leveling harshly personal insults on his rivals, deeming Mexican immigrants rapists and murderers, and vowing to temporarily suspend Muslim immigration to the U.S.

He never released his tax returns, breaking with decades of campaign tradition, and eschewed the kind of robust data and field efforts that helped Obama win two terms in the White House, relying instead on his large, free-wheeling rallies to energize supporters. His campaign was frequently in chaos, and he cycled through three campaign managers this year.

"America will no longer settle for anything but the best," Trump said, adding that the nation will "dream big and bold and daring."