- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Rep. Kevin Cramer raised $1.135 million during the first quarter of his campaign to unseat Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, North Dakota’s Democratic senator.

Ninety-five percent of the donations came within the first six weeks following the Republican congressman’s campaign announcement in February and the campaign had $1.86 million cash on hand as of March 31.

Mr. Cramer’s campaign said in a press release nearly 60 percent of the donations came from within North Dakota, which shows he has strong in-state support.

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Tim Rasmussen, communications director for Mr. Cramer’s campaign, said the election is important for both North Dakota and the country.

“The balance of power in the U.S. Senate is at stake,” he said. “Republicans have a 51 to 49 majority so one vote matters. Our supporters realize how important it is to maintain a conservative majority in order to advance a pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda in Washington.”

Mr. Cramer, who has served three consecutive terms in the House, decided to challenge the vulnerable Ms. Heitkamp after she drew fire from conservatives for high-fiving Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, following a vote against a bill that would have banned abortions after 20 weeks of gestation.

“At that point, you realize it’s bigger than you,” Mr. Cramer told Valley News Live during his rally announcing his campaign.

“Somebody has got to step in and do something about it,” he said.

Ms. Heitkamp is one of several Democrats trying to hold onto their seats in red states. Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton by 36 percentage points in North Dakota in the 2016 presidential election.

And Mr. Trump’s popularity in the state may give Mr. Cramer an edge, especially since he’s been a Trump ally and supported much of the president’s agenda in Congress.

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