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Berg lands Republican nomination for the House

GRAND FORKS -- After a highly competitive race to get the North Dakota Republican Party's nomination to run for the U.S. House of Representatives, state Rep. Rick Berg, R-Fargo, was declared the official party candidate Saturday.

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State Rep. Rick Berg waves to supporters, Saturday in Grand Forks. North Dakota Republicans decided Saturday to back Fargo state Rep. Rick Berg's first run for the U.S. House instead of supporting Public Service Commissioner Kevin Cramer's third bid for the job. AP photo
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GRAND FORKS -- After a highly competitive race to get the North Dakota Republican Party's nomination to run for the U.S. House of Representatives, state Rep. Rick Berg, R-Fargo, was declared the official party candidate Saturday.

Nearly 1,500 delegates cast their ballots Saturday during the state convention to select the candidate who will challenge Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D., as he makes his bid for a 10th term in the House.

Berg, who has been in the state House since 1985, needed 735 votes to secure the nomination and ended up with 972 delegates voting in his favor at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks.

Berg's acceptance speech pointed out securing the nomination was "just the first step."

"What we want to do is we want to give North Dakota its congressional seat back to the people," he said.

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The "common bond" that links state Republicans now, Berg said, is the objective to "take the country back" and get the economy going.

"Clearly, this is something that we're going to need your prayers in, and we're going to need your hard work in, and we're going to need your donations in," he said. "If we can put what we're doing in North Dakota in Washington, our country's going to be better off and our children's future is going to be better off."

Public Service Commission chairman Kevin Cramer, Berg's toughest competition for the nomination, received 442 delegate votes. He made a motion to cast an unanimous party ballot making Berg the official candidate, saying Berg would now be tasked with helping to "take America back."

"It's a great time to celebrate and then get ready to go to work tomorrow because it's a long road ahead," Cramer said about the campaign to the November election.

Two other Republicans also were seeking the House nomination -- Kenmare businessman J.D. Donaghe, who received 34 votes, and DuWayne Hendrickson of Minot, who received four votes.

Donaghe's concession speech thanked the large number of delegates for coming out to the convention, saying the crowd was about double the turnout for the 2008 Republican convention.

"I'm honored and proud to see the participation by this group today," he said.

Donaghe said a prayer for Berg's campaign efforts this year, and then seconded Cramer's motion for a unanimous ballot backing Berg as the official candidate. The motion was approved by delegates, meaning Berg will be the official Republican candidate for the House during the June 8 primary.

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Ryan Johnson is a reporter at the Grand Forks (N.D.) Herald, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.

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