(CNN) - In North Dakota, Democratic Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp defeated Republican Rep. Rick Berg, CNN projected.
Her win is a major victory for Democrats who long feared they would lose the seat vacated by Sen. Kent Conrad, who is retiring.
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While Heitkamp ran as a moderate and is generally well-liked, she faced an uphill climb in the Republican-leaning state. Berg repeatedly tied her to President Obama, who was trounced in the state by Mitt Romney.
Heitkamp also faced GOP criticism during the campaign for accepting donations from a law firm representing groups opposed to fracking, an environmentally controversial process designed to access natural gas reserves. North Dakota's economy is currently benefiting from a local energy sector boom.
Heitkamp thanked North Dakotans for supporting her campaign in a statement released Wednesday upon Berg's decision to concede the race. She also thanked Berg for "his service and for being a part of our great democratic process."
"I salute Congressman Berg for putting his ideas out there, and giving voters a clear choice in this election," said Heitkamp. "I made this promise to every North Dakotan during the campaign and I want to make it again today: I will work as hard as I can to be a senator for each and every one of you. Thank you, and I'm proud to be able to represent North Dakota."
As of 3:30 p.m. ET Wednesday the Democrats hold 54 seats (including one independent who caucuses with the Democrats) and Republicans hold 45 seats in the Senate. Independent Sen-elect Angus King has not yet announced which party he will caucus with.