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Barack Obama elected nation's 44th president
McCain concedes race; president-elect to address nation shortly
Eric Jones, center, and Bobby Jackson, right, celebrate after Sen. Barack Obama was elected president Tuesday night in Tampa, Fla. - photo by (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

VIDEO: State Rep. James Mills discusses early voting; Gainesville State College student Cameron McGinty talks about Tuesday's vote

Click here for an updated presidential electoral map

Click here to link to AP's election coverage

For updated voting results from area counties, click on the links below:

Hall County

Dawson County

Forsyth County

Lumpkin County

White County

Americans voted for change on Tuesday, and in doing so made history.

They chose a black man to lead the nation.

Just four years after bursting onto the national scene, Democrat Barack Obama has been elected the 44th president of the United States, sweeping to a one-sided victory over Republican John McCain.

When the polls closed out West at 11 p.m., the states of California, Oregon, Hawaii and Washington were called by news services for Obama, along with Virginia and Florida, two races that were close all night. That puts Obama at 338 electoral votes, past the magic number of 270 needed to win. McCain has 156 electoral votes.

Obama has 51.2 percent of the popular vote, McCain 47.6 percent.

"Change has come," he told a huge throng of cheering supporters at Grant Park in Chicago.

McCain went before his supporters in Arizona around 11:20 p.m. to concede the race. 

"The American people have spoken, and spoken clearly," McCain said.

McCain, with wife Cindy on one side and running mate Sarah Palin on the other, urged his supporters to put aside partisan differences and work to get "the country moving again."

President Bush reportedly has called Obama to congratulate him.

In Georgia, McCain won with 58 percent of the vote to Obama's 41 percent; in Hall County, he prevailed by a 75-23 percent margin.

Obama, the junior senator from Illinois, was unknown to most of the nation before his 2004 address at the Democratic convention. Tuesday's victory caps a meteoric rise to political power that carried him past frontrunner Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries and the better-known, more experienced McCain in the general election.

Obama, 47, will be sworn in as commander in chief on Jan. 20. Veteran Delaware Sen. Joe Biden, 65, will serve as the nation's 47th vice president.

In Georgia, incumbent Sen. Saxby Chambliss holds a steady lead over Democratic challenger Jim Martin. Chambliss must earn 50 percent of the vote, plus one, to avoid a runoff in three weeks. Fox News declared the race for Chambliss a bit before 11 p.m.

Earlier, U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal earned a ninth term in Congress with a one-sided re-election victory over challenger Jeff Scott of Walker County. Deal, a Gainesville Republican, had 74 percent of the vote with nearly three-quarters of the precincts counted. Scott conceded the race a short time ago.

Republican State Rep. James Mills defeated Chris Strickland in the bid to keep his District 25 seat in South Hall.

Here are the latest results:

President, nationwide
Barack Obama, 51.2%
(338 electoral votes)
John McCain, 47.6%
(156 electoral votes)

President, Georgia (84% counted)
John McCain, 1,525.919, 58.9
Barack Obama, 1,043,974, 40.3%
Bob Barr, 19,739, 0.8%

U.S. Senator (84% counted)
Saxby Chambliss, 1,376,083, 55.5%
Jim Martin, 1,013,762, 40.9%
Allen Buckley, 89,449, 3.6%

U.S. Representative, 9th District (79% counted)
Nathan Deal, 128,025, 73.9%
Jeff Scott, 45,443, 26.2%

State House, District 25 (88% counted)
James Mills, 9,110, 76%
Chris Strickland, 2,798, 24%

State court judge (95% counted)
Charles Wynne, 12,571, 52%
Sonny Sykes, 11,561, 48%