Berg Concedes, Heitkamp Wins

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The news broke about an hour ago that Rep. Rick Berg conceded North Dakota’s Senate race to Heidi Heitkamp.

Immediately afterward my inbox was filled with emails from angry Republicans who think Berg should have pressed the matter. I don’t agree. The certification of the election results would have taken at least another week, and a recount could have gone well into December. All with no real path to victory for Berg.

Yes, I know Al Franken won in Minnesota in 2008 by pushing recount after recount, but who wants to win that way? Heitkamp won with an ugly, bruising campaign focused on making people hate Rick Berg. It’s time to call it a campaign and move forward.

There are some very interesting questions Senator-elect Heitamp needs to answers. Let’s not forget that she ran a very Republican-sounding campaign. She trashed her party’s national platform. She demanded the resignation of President Obama’s EPA administrator and Secretary of Energy. She promised she would stand up to Obama on matters important to North Dakota.

With the Obama administration already making noises about a crack down on fossil-fuel energy, let’s hope Heitkamp’s words were something more than lip service paid to ideas and values she thought would get her elected.

She’ll fail her first test in this regard. Heitkamp has already promised a vote to keep anti-coal, anti-oil Senator Harry Reid in charge of the Senate (a thanks for the millions his PAC spent on advertising attacking Berg).

I expect that we’ll see Heitkamp edge back to the left now that the campaign is over. After all, she has six years before she has to worry about being re-elected.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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