Washington: Republican Dan Bishop has won a special US congressional election in North Carolina, turning back a vigorous Democratic challenge to save a longtime stronghold for President Donald Trump's party.

With 99 per cent of precincts reporting, Bishop, a 55-year-old state senator for whom Trump campaigned, led Democrat Dan McCready, a 36-year-old veteran of the Marines, 50.81 per cent to 48.59 per cent, the state board of elections said.

North Carolina's 9th congressional district, a suburban-rural area in the south-eastern part of the state, has been represented by Republicans in Congress since the 1960s and voted for Trump by about 12 percentage points in 2016.

But Democrats thought they had a chance to flip it and build on the majority they won in the House of Representatives last year. McCready lost by a slim margin in the 2018 midterm elections before state officials ruled it was tainted by an absentee-ballot fraud scheme that benefited his Republican opponent, Mark Harris, and ordered a new vote. Harris did not run again.

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