- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 18, 2018

Rep. Kevin Cramer, North Dakota Republican, launched his campaign for Senate during a rally in Bismarck on Friday, saying he had to jump into the race after his opponent celebrated voting against a 20-week abortion ban.

Mr. Cramer, who has served three consecutive terms in the House, decided to challenge vulnerable Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp.

Ms. Heitkamp recently drew fire from conservatives after she high-fived Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, after voting 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 Friday night.

“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 President 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.

Republicans are looking to expand their 51-seat majority in the Senate, and Mr. Cramer has a real chance of defeating Ms. Heitkamp, who is the only Democrat holding a statewide seat in North Dakota.

Mr. Cramer hopes to get the president out to his state for a campaign rally with him ahead of the election in November.

“I suspect he will make more than one trip out to North Dakota,” Mr. Cramer said.

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