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Thursday 22 March 2018

Clinton hopes to make history as first woman president

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and her husband, former president Bill Clinton, greet supporters after voting in Chappaqua, New York (AP)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and her husband, former president Bill Clinton, greet supporters after voting in Chappaqua, New York (AP)

Hillary Clinton has delivered her closing pitch, concluded her final rally and cast her own vote in the US election.

There is little left for the Democratic nominee to do but to await word on whether she has succeeded in her bid to become the first woman to serve as US president.

Her campaign picked a suitably symbolic location for her election night party - the Jacob K Javits convention centre in New York City, which, in a nod to the potentially historic outcome, offers a glass ceiling.

Casting her ballot at an elementary school near her home in suburban New York, Mrs Clinton acknowledged the weight of the day, saying: "So many people are counting on the outcome of this election."

It was a relatively calm election day compared with Mrs Clinton's hectic final few days day on the campaign trail.

The former US secretary of state and New York senator dashed through battleground states and campaigned with a star-studded cast of celebrity supporters.

The eve of the election included an emotional rally in Philadelphia with her husband, Bill Clinton, as well as president Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, featuring performances by Jon Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen.

Lady Gaga capped the day by serenading thousands of supporters before the Clintons took the stage for a 1am rally in Raleigh, North Carolina.

After the divisive rhetoric of the campaign against her Republican rival Donald Trump, Mrs Clinton sought to offer a positive closing message.

She told supporters in Pittsburgh they "can vote for a hopeful, inclusive, bighearted America".

In a buoyant mood, she also greeted voters who cried out "we love you," telling them: "I love you all, too ... absolutely."

Some good news boosted Mrs Clinton's spirits in the final moments of the campaign. On Sunday, FBI director James Comey sent a letter to US congress, explaining that the bureau had found no evidence in its hurried review of newly discovered emails to warrant criminal charges against Mrs Clinton.

The late October announcement of a fresh email review rocked the race just as Mrs Clinton appeared to be pulling away from Donald Trump in several battleground states.

The update from the FBI may have come too late for some. In the nine days between Mr Comey's initial statement until his "all clear" announcement on Sunday, nearly 24 million people had cast early ballots - about 18% of the expected total votes for president.

Campaign aides projected confidence in the final moments. They said they felt good about Nevada, where they said support for Mrs Clinton in early voting was strong.

They were also encouraged by the strong Latino turnout in Florida and felt they took a strong lead in Michigan and Pennsylvania into election day, when the bulk of votes are cast in those states.

Leading up to election day, Mrs Clinton made stops in Pennsylvania, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio and New Hampshire - often flanked by star guests. Jay Z and Beyonce performed with pant-suited backing dancers in Cleveland, James Taylor serenaded New Hampshire voters and Katy Perry sang Roar in Philadelphia.

Mrs Clinton also campaigned with Khizr Khan, the father of a slain US army officer whose indictment of Mr Trump at the Democratic National Convention was an emotional high point for the party.

Her last two days on the campaign trail felt almost like a Clinton family reunion, with some of her closest confidants jumping on the campaign plane for her final hours.

Even Huma Abedin, her embattled personal aide caught up in the email controversy, jumped on the plane for the midnight rally in Raleigh.


Press Association

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