Donald Trump declares victory, Hillary Clinton concedes

Updated: Nov. 9, 2016 at 2:56 AM EST
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(RNN) - Donald Trump is the president-elect of the United States of America with Wisconsin giving him the required 274 electoral votes at 2:30 a.m. ET Wednesday morning, pushing him over the required 270 votes.

The reality show star, billionaire, and longtime celebrity capped a stunning comeback with his Nov. 8 defeat of Democrat Hillary Clinton, who appeared to hold an insurmountable lead two weeks before the election. However, days before the election, the polls showed a single digit lead within the margin of error.

Trump will speak to his supporters, who erupted in jubilant cheers and chanted "USA" once the results were announced on screens around the Trump Hotel.

Hillary Clinton has called Donald Trump to concede the election. Clinton's campaign manager, John Podesta, spoke to her supporters at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center at 2:03 a.m. ET that Clinton would not speak tonight, saying the campaign wanted all the votes to be counted.

Defying the polls and surveys, Trump's populist movement won the swing states of Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio and North Carolina. In 2008 and 2012, President Barack Obama created a blue coalition of swing states that included Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida and Michigan.

Trump's fortunes shifted after FBI Director James Comey sent a letter to Congress informing them the Bureau had discovered new emails that might be pertinent to the investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private server while she was secretary of State. Within hours, word leaked that the emails were found in the investigation into the sexting scandal of disgraced Congressman Anthony Weiner, whose estranged wife is Huma Abedin, Clinton's top assistant.

Two days before the election Comey announced that the investigation turned up no information to change its June recommendation that no charges be filed against Clinton.

But the GOP nominee continually questioned the accuracy of the polls throughout the general election, claiming that the election was "rigged" against him.

The polls did send conflicting messages in the late stages of the election.

Clinton held a 14-point lead in an AP poll released on Oct. 26, but was only 3 points ahead in a Fox poll released the same day. Her Electoral College lead and strong showings in battleground states made Trump's victory seem all but impossible. She actually devoted resources to boosting down-ticket candidates in traditional Republican stronghold states like Texas, Arizona and Georgia.

She saw that lead evaporate nationally and in battleground states in the days after Comey's first letter.

Trump overcame the damaging release of a 2005 video that contained audio of him saying that he kissed and grabbed women in a sexual way without their permission. More than 10 women later came forward and accused him of sexual assault and unwanted advances.

Many fellow Republicans criticized him and some even pulled their support after the video was released.

Trump dismissed the comments as "locker room talk," and denied the accusers' allegations.

Clinton had her own scandal when Wikileaks released thousands of emails that Trump used against her as proof that her campaign was dirty and that she could not be trusted. The releases also included speeches she made to Wall Street firms for enormous fees. She had long refused to release the speeches.

She had been plagued for years by her use of a private server when she was Secretary of State. Though a federal investigation cleared her of criminal wrongdoing, FBI Director James Comey called her actions very careless."

Trump was not given much of a chance when he declared his candidacy in June 2015. But his poll showings were always strong and he overcame 16 primary challengers to become the GOP nominee. He fended off attacks from mainstream Republicans and "stop Trump" efforts to coalesce behind one candidate or the other.

His message "Make America Great Again" resonated with conservative voters who felt abandoned by the Republican establishment and threatened by the economy and general direction of the country. The support of his deeply conservative base never wavered.

He marketed his unorthodox campaign through social media and by marketing himself in such a way that he received unprecedented media coverage. He held hundreds of rallies and drew huge crowds, delivering speeches that emphasized his bombastic personality and fired his audience into wild cheering.

He ran on promises of controlling illegal immigration by making Mexico pay for a wall along the southern border of the U.S. and by temporarily banning Muslims from entering the country.

Some of his rhetoric emboldened the alt-right, many including white supremacists. The KKK-sponsored newspaper endorsed his candidacy.

He vowed to stop the loss of jobs to China and to eliminate the trade deficits with China and other foreign countries. He pledged to rebuild and strengthen the U.S. military, to destroy ISIS, to grow the American economy and create millions of new jobs.

Trump had never run for public office before his victorious presidential campaign. The presidency will be his first public office.

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