The AP is reporting that Republican Rick Berg has conceded his Senate race to Democrat Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota—a huge disappointment for conservatives looking to take back the red state and another brutal reminder that they struck out in the Senate. This morning Heitkamp was holding onto an unofficial lead of 3,000. Berg had declined to concede last night because the vote was so close, but "conceded the race Wednesday with a qualifier: He was stepping aside barring any unforeseen circumstances with the state canvasing board that certifies the race results," according to the AP. "That canvasing process is to begin Friday. It will account for late-arriving absentee ballots that were postmarked in time to be counted in the election."
If Heitkamp's win holds true, that will give Democrats more control in the Senate—Dems won 22 seats last night, Heitkamp makes that 23, and that brings them to 53 total. Add in two Independents who will probably side with Democrats, and you get 55. And because someone has to lose when someone wins, Republicans can chalk up North Dakota along with losses in red states Indiana, Missouri, and Montana.
As our Esther Zuckerman wrote earlier, the number of women Senators next term will be at least 19. Heitkamp brings that to 20.
With Heitkamp victory, the new Senate will have 20 female members.— Rick Klein (@rickklein) November 7, 2012