Cramer ousts Heitkamp in critical North Dakota Senate race

Rep. Kevin CramerKevin John CramerGOP skeptical of polling on Trump Senate passes sanctions bill targeting China over Hong Kong law Cruz urges Trump to support Israeli annexation MORE (R-N.D.) toppled Sen. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn Heitkamp70 former senators propose bipartisan caucus for incumbents Susan Collins set to play pivotal role in impeachment drama Pro-trade group launches media buy as Trump and Democrats near deal on new NAFTA MORE (D-N.D.) in North Dakota's hotly contested Senate race on Tuesday after a hard-fought campaign that emerged as a test of Democrats' ability to hold on in deep-red territory.

From the beginning, Heitkamp was seen as one of the most vulnerable Democrats up for reelection this year. President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew Jersey incumbents steamroll progressive challengers in primaries Tucker Carlson ratchets up criticism of Duckworth, calls her a 'coward' Trump on Confederate flag: 'It's freedom of speech' MORE won the state by nearly 36 points in 2016 and Cramer cast himself as a close ally of the president throughout his campaign.

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Still, early polls showed a close race and Heitkamp remained popular in the state.

But in the final month of the campaign, Cramer appeared to consolidate support as conservatives rallied around the controversial confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughRomney, Collins, Murkowski won't attend GOP convention Susan Collins signals she won't campaign against Biden Hillicon Valley: QAnon scores wins, creating GOP problem | Supreme Court upholds regulation banning robocalls to cellphones | Foreign hackers take aim at homebound Americans | Uber acquires Postmates MORE, who faced multiple sexual misconduct allegations.

Heitkamp ultimately voted against Kavanaugh's confirmation, setting the stage for GOP claims that she was out of touch with North Dakota voters.

Heitkamp's seat was seen by Republicans as key to expanding their Senate majority and critical to Democratic efforts to retake the chamber.

The Cook Political Report rated the race as "Lean" Republican.