Berg expected to win GOP Senate nominationApparently on track for a decisive victory Tuesday, Republican Rep. Rick Berg will likely represent his party in North Dakota’s hotly contested U.S. Senate race this year.
By: By Kristen M. Daum, Forum Communications Co., The Jamestown Sun
FARGO – Apparently on track for a decisive victory Tuesday, Republican Rep. Rick Berg will likely represent his party in North Dakota’s hotly contested U.S. Senate race this year.
In early results, Berg appeared to be ahead of challenger Duane Sand in the Republican primary.
As of press time, Berg garnered 69 percent of Tuesday’s vote, compared to 31 percent who voted for Sand, with 12 percent of precincts reporting.
The matchup gave voters a choice between the perennial underdog or the establishment candidate.
Berg was endorsed by the North Dakota Republican Party this spring.
Berg is in his first term as North Dakota’s lone congressman. He was first elected in 2010 after knocking off longtime incumbent Democrat Earl Pomeroy.
Sand did not seek the Republican Party’s endorsement, instead wanting to face Berg in a primary contest.
This was Sand’s fourth bid for a congressional seat. He ran unsuccessful campaigns for the Senate in 2000 and for the House in 2004 and 2008.
Based on early results, Sand is on track for his worst showing in a statewide election.
In Sand’s previous elections, he ran uncontested in the June primary. In general election contests, though, Sand received between 38 and 40 percent of the vote.
Out of 17,546 votes cast statewide by 9:06 p.m., Berg received 6,908 votes in Tuesday’s primary, while Sand received 3,123 votes.
Berg will now face Democrat Heidi Heitkamp in the November general election. Heitkamp ran uncontested in the Democratic-NPL primary.
U.S. Senate members serve six-year terms and receive an annual salary of $174,000.
North Dakota’s seat is open this year since Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad is retiring after 25 years in office.
Kristen Daum is a reporter
at The Forum of Fargo-
Moorhead, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.