CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The heated election fights in North Carolina’s Senate and House races will not only help determine the fate of the state’s and country’s textile industry, but also play a key role in deciding the balance of power in Congress over the next two years.

The outcome of Tuesday’s elections will also take a hand in writing the next and possibly final chapter in the storied history of the Southern textile mills, which have dwindled to a precious few and continue to face steep challenges from free-trade policies and cheap foreign imports.

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