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Republicans had hoped to make gains in the U.S. Senate by taking advantage of apparently vulnerable Democrats in rural states.

Instead, Democratic Senator Jon Tester of Montana held onto his seat, beating back a challenge from Republican Denny Rehberg.

In North Dakota, Democrat Heide Keitkamp surprised Republican Rick Berg to win that state’s open Senate seat by fewer than 3,000 votes.

On the House side, Democrat Rep. John Barrow (Georgia-12th District) beat back a Republican challenge with a novel ad campaign in which he supported gun-owner rights and criticized government waste.

The ads had a decidedly rural feel. While seated on the edge of a country road, Barrow brags that he “voted to get rid of funding for the ballet in New York City.”

Meanwhile, Bob Kerrey lost his comeback (and come home) election for the U.S. Senate seat from Nebraska. State Sen. Deb Fischer beat him badly. Kerrey says he will not leave Nebraska.

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