Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Burr won a second term, The Charlotte Observer reported. He defeated his Democratic challenger, Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, with 55 percent of the vote to her 43 percent.
Republicans also did well on the state level. The party won both houses of the legislature for the first time since the 19th century, The Raleigh News and Observer said.
Etheridge, with 48.5 percent of the vote to 49.6 percent for Ellmers in unofficial results, said he would not concede until he is sure "every vote is counted and every voice heard," McClatchy Newspapers reported. Two years ago, Etheridge won the district 2-1.
Ellmers, a registered nurse, was making her first run for elective office in the district in central and eastern North Carolina. She said she would try to repeal Obama's healthcare plan and cut federal spending.
"This is a victory for the people," she said in a victory speech. "For all of those people out there who need that change in Washington, and I will go and work for you, you will be my employer. The people are not supposed to work for Washington; Washington is supposed to work for the people."