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Wake County, NC identified as one of most critical counties in 2016 election

RALEIGH, N.C. — Few counties could prove more decisive in this election than Wake County, North Carolina.

A historically competitive county whose fortunes are on the rise, Wake could help deliver Hillary Clinton a win in a key battleground state — or dash her hopes for the presidency. Simply put, if Clinton performs well in the highly educated research triangle, then election night bodes well for her. If Wake County doesn’t come out for Clinton, Donald Trump’s path to the White House would grow much clearer.

The county is rapidly expanding, and the influx of new people and industries could reshape the race. Meanwhile, the turmoil across the state in Charlotte after a police officer shot and killed a black man could add another focal point in the election — search data from Google Trends shows Wake County’s spiking interest in “police brutality” this week.