Democrat Rep. Jackie Rosen has unseated incumbent Republican Sen. Dean Heller in what is thus far the only pickup for the Democrats in the Senate from the 2018 midterms.
The race was called by The Associated Press at 12:11 a.m. PST (3:11 a.m. EST), leaving only three races in the Senate as of yet undecided.
Despite the loss, continued Republican control of the Senate is still assured, with 51 seats safely in their hands.
— AP Politics (@AP_Politics) November 7, 2018
Heller, who was running for a second term, was widely seen as the Republican incumbent most vulnerable to losing his seat.
Hillary Clinton carried Nevada in the 2016 election and the Democrats brought out serious firepower to support Rosen, who has represented Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District for one term.
In addition to luminaries like Barack Obama and Joe Biden, Rosen got visits from celebrities like Jimmy Kimmel.
— Deadline Hollywood (@DEADLINE) November 7, 2018
However, the biggest deciding factor in the the race may have been money. According to The Hill, Heller faced $33 million in outside money arrayed against him.
There was also the fact that Heller had a problematic relationship with President Donald Trump. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Heller said he was “99 percent against Trump,” but supported him because he was “100 percent against Clinton.”
Heller would later try to make amends with Trump, calling him a “a great leader” who had helped revive America’s economy. He would also welcome the president for several large-scale campaign rallies.
Rosen, meanwhile, drew big liberal names like Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who stumped for her during the final weeks of the race.
However, in the late stages of the campaign, signs began to show that Heller was crumbling under the pressure of outside forces.
A poll by Emerson College released Monday showed Rosen ahead by 4 points going into Election Day, according to The Hill. There were also signs that Heller was performing poorly with independents and rural residents in early voting, which were key demographics he needed to win.
The margin with 85 percent of districts in was almost exactly four points, so score one for public polling.
Shortly after the race was called, Heller tweeted a concession to Rosen.
“My sincere congratulations again to Jacky Rosen, my hat’s off to the hard work her team put into this race. The transition will be easy as our teams work together for the future of our great state,” Heller tweeted at 12:22 a.m. PST.
My sincere congratulations again to Jacky Rosen, my hat’s off to the hard work her team put into this race. The transition will be easy as our teams work together for the future of our great state.
— Dean Heller (@DeanHeller) November 7, 2018
Rosen was quick to follow with a tweet thanking Heller for his service.
Thank you, Senator Heller for your many years of public service to our state. https://t.co/BkZwqMl1bs
— Jacky Rosen (@RosenforNevada) November 7, 2018
In a speech after it became clear she would win, Rosen claimed her victory was part of a wave for distaff gender.
“Women are winning up and down the ballot. This is a historic night for us,” Rosen said, according to The Hill.
Democrats pointed out the victory made Nevada the first state with two female senators; Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto also represents the state in the upper chamber.
With Rosen’s race called, three Senate races still remain officially undecided: Arizona, Montana and Florida. In all three, the Republican candidate leads (Florida Republican Rick Scott has already declared victory) but the margin is slim enough and/or there aren’t enough precincts reporting to make it official.
If the GOP carries all three races — two of which would be pickups — Republicans will have 54 seats in the Senate.
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