RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Republican who is arguably North Carolina's most powerful politician could be facing a Democratic challenger in November after all.

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The state elections board on Thursday decided that Democrat Jen Mangrum did enough to establish her permanent residence in the Senate district now represented by Republican Phil Berger. The decision reverses a local elections panel's decision that disqualified Mangrum as ineligible.

The state elections board divided along party lines, with an unaffiliated member selected by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper casting the deciding vote.

Berger also is expected to face Libertarian R. Michael Jordan for the District 30 Senate seat representing Rockingham and northwestern Guilford counties.

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