BISMARCK, N.D. — North Dakota Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp says Donald Trump asked her to join the Republican Party shortly before he was sworn in as president.

Heitkamp, in an interview with The Washington Post Tuesday, said Trump “asked me to switch parties” during a December 2016 meeting at his Trump Tower in New York City.

A spokeswoman for Heitkamp confirmed the remarks Wednesday.

The newspaper said Trump made the request while he and Heitkamp were discussing deregulation and other areas where they have common interests.

Heitkamp says in a statement that Trump “has pointed out our similarities and ribbed me on my party affiliation.”

Heitkamp is North Dakota’s only Democratic statewide officeholder. She faces a tough re-election fight from GOP Rep. Kevin Cramer in a critical race for control of the Senate.

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