The Dems retained a senate seat that was a gimme for the Republicons. Rick Berg was cruising to what he thought was a sure thing. Until it wasn't.
Heidi Heitkamp benefited in the closing days from Senator Conrad's campaigning, as well as millions of dollars that poured in to support her candidacy. Poorly polled ND was showing Berg in the lead, while one or two outliers hinted that Heitcamp might be closing in. Still, no one was quite sure.
When the final results are tabulated, the difference in this race will undoubtedly be the support Heitcamp received from newly activated Native voters in the state, driven by a staffer/volunteer/activist named Prairie Rose who most certainly deserves a position on Heitcamps permanent staff. Check out the margin in Sioux county.
And Rollete county
If the Natives had stayed home, Berg would have won. But they didn't. The ND Reservation voters should be thanked for their support and not forgotten when Heitkamp gets to Washington.
Yet, there is still room to improve turnout margins on the reservations. Dems need to continue to develop this crucial coalition with the Indian Nations and ensure that they are part of the process and active. Having Prairie Rose engaged as a full time staffer would be yet another smart move by Heitkamp, who is going to be a very, very smart Senator.