Dan Bishop shakes hands with US President Donald Trump during a campaign rally in North Carolina [Kevin Lamarque/Reuters]

Republican Senator Dan Bishop has narrowly won a special United States congressional election in North Carolina, saving a longtime stronghold for the party of President Donald Trump.

With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Bishop secured 50.81 percent of the votes in the 9th Congressional District, a suburban-rural area in the southeastern part of North Carolina.

His rival, Dan McCready, won 48.59 percent of the votes, the state board of elections said on Tuesday. 

North Carolina’s 9th congressional district has been represented by Republicans in Congress since the 1960s and voted for Trump by about 12 percentage points in 2016.

Tuesday’s close election highlighted the challenges both parties

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