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CNN projection: Cramer defeats Heitkamp

CNN projects that North Dakota voters will elect Republican Kevin Cramer to the US Senate, defeating incumbent Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp.

Posted: Nov 7, 2018 10:53 AM
Updated: Nov 7, 2018 11:05 AM

Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer will win his bid to be the next senator from North Dakota, CNN can project, ousting incumbent Democrat Heidi Heitkamp and dealing a significant blow to Democrats' prospect at taking control of the Senate.

Heitkamp, in the closing months of the campaign, was widely considered the most vulnerable Democratic incumbent in the Senate, given Trump won North Dakota by 36 percentage points. That position was cemented when, weeks before Election Day, her campaign mistakenly identified sexual assault survivors in an ad, forcing the Democrats to emotionally apologize and promise to make up for the mistake.

Heitkamp, in a move many Democrats applauded by questioned as political risky, decided to vote against Brett Kavanaugh, Trump's nominee to the Supreme Court who was confirmed despite being accused of sexual assault, which he denied. The Kavanaugh hearings became a contentious matter in the race, with Heitkamp arguing that she had to vote against the nominee to be able to look at herself in the mirror at night.

The vote, however, was a boon for Heitkamp's fundraising. In the roughly two weeks after her vote against Kavanaugh, Heitkamp raised just over $12.5 million, money that was funneled directly into her the millions worth of ads her campaign ran in the final months.

Cramer ran towards Trump throughout the race, looking to tap into the same base of voters that propelled him to the White House in 2016. Cramer accused Heitkamp of being out of step with North Dakota voters, slamming some of her votes on abortion and against the Republican tax plan.

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