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Incumbent Sen. Burr Defeats Ross In Race For U.S. Senate

Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C. greets supporters as he gives his acceptance speech after winning re-election, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016, in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Nell Redmond
Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C. greets supporters as he gives his acceptance speech after winning re-election, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016, in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Richard Burr, the incumbent candidate for North Carolina's seat on the U.S. Senate, secured a win against challenger Democrat Deborah Ross. Burr won 51 percent of the vote to Ross's 45 percent.

It was one of the few clear, decisive victories in the slate of statewide races in North Carolina, and it means Republicans maintain control of the Senate.
In the lead up to the election, Burr publicly supported presidential candidate Donald Trump despite Trump's crude talk about women, Burr faced criticism for a disparaging comment about a bullseye on Hillary Clinton’s face. Burr criticized Ross for her past work with the state chapter of the ACLU.

He was sentimental in his acceptance speech, referring to the recent death of his father and to his plans for his ultimate term on the U.S. Senate. 

"I pledge to you to finish my public service doing all I can to make sure that the next generation feels the full effects of what we can accomplish," said Burr.

Burr noted that he will be only the third U.S. senator to be elected to a third consecutive term in North Carolina's history.

Related content: Photos: Day Of Voting Around The Triangle

In her concession speech, Ross said, "I don't consider this the end. I consider this an opportunity to inspire young people, and we've run a campaign that we can be proud of and has inspired them."

North Carolina Congressman David Price hoped even with a Republican-controlled Congress, the two parties might find common ground against president-elect Donald Trump.
"I’m just not certain what the man would do as president, and I just hope that people of good will, including Republicans would have the courage to stand up to him when he oversteps, as he most certainly will," said Price. 

Together, both the Ross and Burr camps spent more than 80 million dollars — much of it from outside groups that saw North Carolina as key to control in the Senate. Democrats had hoped to flip the seat in their favor in order to gain control of the Senate but Republicans had sweeping victories in last night's elections.

"This is a victory for all those who have believed in me," said Burr, "and who have continued to have confidence in the fact that my values match your values and for that, I'm grateful."

Democratic Candidate for U.S. Senate Deborah Ross, stands at a podium delivering her concession speech after her defeat to Republican Senator Richard Burr.
Credit Brian Batista/ WUNC
Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, Deborah Ross, delivers her concession speech after her defeat to Republican U.S. Senator Richard Burr.

Jess is WUNC's Fletcher Fellow for Education Policy Reporting. Her reporting focuses on how decisions made at the North Carolina General Assembly affect the state's students, families, teachers and communities.
Dave DeWitt is WUNC's Feature News Editor. As an editor, reporter, and producer he's covered politics, environment, education, sports, and a wide range of other topics.
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