Rep. Rick Berg (R-N.D.) conceded to Democratic candidate Heidi Heitkamp in the North Dakoka Senate race, the Associated Press reported on Wednesday.
Berg and Heitkamp, former Attorney General of North Dakota, were fighting for the seat of retiring Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad. They had remained neck-and-neck in late night and early morning vote counts.
The Associated Press reported on the significance of the election:
The tight finish to the Senate contest threw a wrench into an otherwise predictable election, in which voters enjoying a robust economy fueled by western North Dakota's oil boom backed Republicans in the other top races. Republican Mitt Romney won the state's presidential race, Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple had an easy election and public service commissioner Kevin Cramer was chosen to replace Berg in the U.S. House.
Even Heitkamp's strong showing was something of a rejection of Democratic President Barack Obama: Heitkamp has been harshly critical of the president's energy policy, is pro-oil and supports gun rights. Despite the Democratic label, many viewed the 57-year-old former state tax commissioner and attorney general as more of an independent than a Democrat.