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Rosen defeats Heller in Nevada Senate race

Rosen defeats Heller in Nevada Senate race
© Greg Nash

Rep. Jacky RosenJacklyn (Jacky) Sheryl RosenHillicon Valley: Parler app risks charges of selling out with Apple return | Justices hear First Amendment clash over cheerleader's Snapchat | Google pressed to conduct racial equity audit Lawmakers introduce legislation to create civilian reserve program to fight hackers Bipartisan Senate proposal would grant million to minority businesses MORE (D) has defeated Sen. Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerOn The Trail: Democrats plan to hammer Trump on Social Security, Medicare Lobbying World Democrats spend big to put Senate in play MORE (R) in Nevada's toss-up Senate race, giving Democrats a win in one of their few pickup opportunities of the cycle.

Heller, who was running for a second term, conceded the race shortly before it was called by The Associated Press. A spokesman for Heller's campaign didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Rosen's victory in Nevada marks a major win for Senate Democrats in an otherwise rough election night, with Republicans poised to expand their Senate majority after unseating several red-state Democrats. The state was also a bright spot for the party in 2016 when Democrats swept the state.

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“When it came time to elect a Senator who would stand up for Nevadans, the choice was clear. Jacky Rosen has always stood out because of her commitment to serve her community, and now her state - and do what is right even if it’s hard. We need more problem solvers like Jacky and I look forward to welcoming her to the U.S. Senate," said Sen. Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenIs America slipping to autocracy? Trade representative says policy must protect key industries Senate Democrats push Biden over raising refugee cap MORE (D-Md.), the chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. 

Rosen's victory will make Nevada only one of seven states that has been represented by two female senators simultaneously.

"Women are winning up and down the ballot. This is a historic night for us," Rosen said in a speech claiming victory early Wednesday morning.

Republicans argued that the deck was stacked against them after Democrats swept the state in 2016 and have dedicated years to building a strong turnout machine.

Steven Law — the president of the Senate Leadership Fund, which has ties to Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell: Taliban could take over Afghanistan by 'the end of the year' McConnell alma mater criticizes him for 1619 comments McConnell amid Trump criticism: 'I'm looking forward, not backward' MORE (R-Ky.) — said that group spent more than $16 million in the state to try to "make it a fair fight." 

"We wish Senator Heller well and hope he continues to stay engaged in Nevada politics in the future," he said. 

Nevada was one of the most closely watched races in the country and among one of the most expensive Senate races, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Democrats made Heller a top target early on because he was the only Republican senator running for reelection in a state won by Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonMcConnell: Taliban could take over Afghanistan by 'the end of the year' Hillary Clinton: There must be a 'global reckoning' with disinformation Pelosi's archbishop calls for Communion to be withheld from public figures supporting abortion rights MORE.

Heller embraced Trump — after describing himself as “99 percent against” him in the 2016 election — as part of his 2018 strategy. He campaigned with the president and touted Republicans' ability to confirm his Supreme Court picks.

Heller was able to keep the race close despite getting hit with more than $33 million in outside money opposing him.

But there were signs that the race was slipping away from him in the waning days of the midterm election. Though he and Rosen seesawed throughout the election, an Emerson College Poll released Monday found Rosen with a 4-percentage point lead.

He was also under pressure to drive up his margin among independents and rural voters, after Democrats led in early voting by 3.5 percentage points and Jon Ralston, a veteran Nevada political observer, predicted Heller's defeat.

Updated: 3:18 a.m.