In Upset, Heitkamp Wins North Dakota Senate Seat
In an upset win, Democrat Heidi Heitkamp defeated Rep. Rick Berg, R-N.D., to fill the North Dakota Senate seat left by retiring Democrat Kent Conrad.
Berg conceded Tuesday afternoon after one of the season's closest Senate contests. Only about 3,000 votes seperated his total from from Heitkamp's, out of more than 315,000 cast. Her victory expands the Democratic majority to 53, compared to 45 Republicans and two independents.
Republicans had initially considered this race an easy get, so Heitkamp's win is all that much more surprising. The matchup between Heitkamp, a former state Attorney General, and Berg, a first-term congressman, was close for much of the election season.
Cognizant of running against the Republican grain in the red-shaded North Dakota, Heitkamp ran as a centrist and distanced herself from President Obama on issues key to North Dakota's economy, including energy and farming. First-term congressman Berg ran on a traditional GOP platform and Republican interest groups targeted Heitkamp for the instances she has supported Obama, most notably the health care law dubbed ObamaCare.
Check out our full analysis of the North Dakota race here.