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Kevin Cramer

Republican Kevin Cramer wins North Dakota Senate race

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WASHINGTON (Circa) -- Republican Kevin Cramer has defeated incumbent Democrat Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, securing a seat in the next Senate.

The 57-year-old Republican held a strong lead in several polls, which was not much of a surprise given North Dakota's conservative voting history. President Donald Trump won the state with 63 percent of the vote in the 2016 election, despite Heitkamp's upset win in 2012.

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While Trump took North Dakota with ease in 2016, the state's voters are split on his policy decisions since entering office. Trade has been on the minds of the state's many farmers, specifically Trump's tariff policies. Soybeans are the state's top export, and China is the number one buyer. The Chinese government responded to Trump's tariffs on Chinese goods by slapping a 25 percent tariff on several U.S. products, including soybeans. North Dakota's farmers are feeling the effects.

Trump was a focal point for both candidates throughout the race. Cramer campaigned as a Trump ally, an apparent attempt to capitalize on the results of the last election. That said, he voiced concern over Trump's tariff policies earlier this year after assembling a group of farmers for a meeting with Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross.

Heitkamp, who is known to hold moderate views, also capitalized on Trump, noting in her campaign how many times she has voted with the president. But she also utilized the tariff situation to her benefit, targeting Cramer with ads about how tariffs have hurt North Dakotans in September.

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