Berg Concedes, Heitkamp Wins


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 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.

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  • Guest

    I am starting to believe that this election went as it did because those favoring the liberal side of things have to be really slow learners and would not have believed those of the more conservative views when they warned of the continued devastation another 4 years of Obama would bring. Now with a majority in Senate and House… oofta. All I have to say is this is their chance to prove us right. God be with us… I hope we will still have something to recover with in 4 years.

  • Angie Faut

    I am starting to believe that this election went as it did for the following reason. Because those favoring the liberal side of things are really slow learners, they would have to be at this point. They would not have believed those of the more conservative views any other way. When they warned of the continued devastation another 4 years of Obama would bring. They laughed, well now maybe it will be a little clearer! Also with a majority in Senate and House… oofta.
    All I have to say is this is their chance to prove us right. God be with us… I hope we will still have something to recover with in 4 years.

    • borborygmi

      Angie the Republicans still control the house. FYI

  • toppr8

    What really is sad is that what has happened is likely to be irreversible. In 2016 the focus may have to leave health care alone to have a chance at being elected. It will be difficult to convince people that losing their govt health program is really a better thing, rather than breaking the country financially.
    What concerns me most is the size of govt and what goes hand in hand with that.
    And what about the loss of liberties, I cringe at what is yet to come!
    A president should be re-elected based on a good performance and 4 year resume. I am not seeing how that fits into this election! We are all going to pay for yesterdays decison!

  • DakotaDewey

    I love it when bloggers support their accusations by linking to other blog posts that they themselves wrote.

  • Mike

    “She’ll fail her first test in this regard.” Kind of like the way she sent out emails yesterday urging people to go vote – even after she swore that election day campaigning was something North Dakotans don’t want or appreciate or need….the first of many hypocritical moves to come.

    • borborygmi

      Gary Emineth was happy she did

  • Rick Olson

    I’m prepared to eat my words about everything I have said about Heidi Heitkamp. She beat North Dakota’s lone member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Rick Berg, R-N.D., in a hard-fought, extremely close battle. Heidi won the election fair and square. There is no question about that. Her margin of victory over Berg will likely be a record breaker. There hasn’t been this close of a U.S. Senate election in North Dakota since then-state tax commissioner Kent Conrad pulled the upset over then-Sen. Mark Andrews, R-N.D. Heitkamp’s margin of victory is less than one percent of the vote, but more than the one half of one percent which would have triggered an automatic statewide recount. It appears that Rep. Berg will not request a recount and earlier today, he conceded this hotly-contested race to Heitkamp. I congratulate Heidi on her win and wish her all the best as she transitions into the life of a United States Senator.

    • RCND

      She did win fairly, but not squarely. She ran an ugly, disgusting campaign unbecoming of the public image she attempts to portray. But she also hooked herself to conservative ideals she will either need to stick to, or have to answer for later

      • borborygmi

        And Rick ran a fair and square campaign without falsehoods and half truths. Keep burying you head in the sand ostrich. I see personal responsibility is once again taking the back seat in the Conservative Party. NOt Ricks fault it was Heidi’s fault. It was out of state money, etc. Pure BS from RCND. Keep that attitude and lose again.

        • RCND

          Oh it is Ricks fault no question. He campaigned way too leisurely. He needed to do what needed to be done to overcome the personal attacks and mischarechterizations and did not. He lost this election because of what he didn’t do. But, I lost all respect I had for her in the way she conducted herself. We are not represented by a ND nice lady as she wants us to see her, but instead a beltway sleezebag like all the rest

          • borborygmi

            And if Rick would have won we would have been represented by a beltway douchbag?

          • dakotacyr

            You never had any respect for Heitkamp. “we are not represented by a ND nice lady” couldn’t be anymore sexist could you.

    • Roy_Bean

      It goes to show that in America you can still lie and slander your way to the top if you are willing to set aside all honesty, decency and respect for yourself. She was dishonest about her own positions and in her portrayal of her opponent, but who cares? She won at any cost and that’s all that matters.

      • $8194357

        Alinsky’s any means…
        Run to perfection..

        • borborygmi

          And Rick wasn’t , Lying to yourself doesn’t help anything. Conservatives are like addicts until they admit they have a problem there is no use intervening..

          • $8194357

            Communist or RINO socialist?
            Pure poison or sugar coated?
            Blue or red?
            D or R…
            Same results…
            Just different amounts..

      • borborygmi

        Do you really believe that Heidi would work to close the AIr Bases. IF so look in the mirror and you will see what is wrong with conservatives.

      • teacher

        Oh, and Berg’s values are squeaky clean? ha! Accept the loss and move on.

    • borborygmi

      I congratulate Rick on not asking for a recount. This one had to sting considering margins other Republican candidates won buy.

  • Phil Gay

    Rick Berg & the ND Republicans have shown they have no guts, no backbone, no courage, no Conservative values. What a gutless punk move. Run away – does anyone fight for what is right anymore? Rob, any thoughts?

  • dakotacyr

    This is a great day for North Dakota, citizens were able to discern what was important and didn’t vote the republican party line. Heidi is well known in the states since she was the Tax Commissioner and Attorney General. She stayed in the state after her loss to Hoeven as Governor. People know her and trust her. She will make a great US Senator. Congrats North Dakota.

    • Goon

      Isn’t there a liberal blog that you can hangout at skippy?

      • dakotacyr

        Poor goonie, what phase of grief are you in right now?

    • teacher

      Well said! I agree! She is intelligent, resourceful, hard working and a good listener! That’s what I look for in a leader!

  • kevindf

    She is just what Washington DC needs; another two bit trial shyster who rode the affirmative action bandwagon through law school.

    • borborygmi

      Link to the proof of that claim?

    • teacher

      so far from what is important….you are really stretching here.

    • eury

      And went on to become a U.S. Senator. I think that speaks volumes about the value of affirmative action, don’t you?

  • Larry Gauper

    The reason Berg lost can by summed-up in one word: arrogance. And Rick isn’t, by nature, an “arrogant” man. The arrogance started when, after the people of ND awarded him with a House seat, within a year of assuming that office, he’s out campaigning for the Senate. Then, he avoided any media that wasn’t right-wing-extremist friendly. Wrong strategy. Don’t just talk to the choir, get out there and mix-it up with the opposition.

    While Heidi was eating hot dish around the state, Mr. Berg was talking to the management of engineering firms, etc. That’s the constituency he already had in the bag. He needed to talk to those he didn’t have sewed-up.

    Then, smearing Heidi with “Obamacare” when, in fact, many North Dakotans LIKED a number of the features of the program, was a mistake. It was also a mistake letting his campaign tell lies about the “$721 billion from Medicare” when, in fact, that move, taking profits from insurance companies and he “Advantage” program, strengthened Medicare A and B, the plan most North Dakotans have, all of that hurt him. At least enough to allow Heidi to pull it out.

    Right-wing bloviators didn’t help either, by attacking birth control, Limbaugh’s “sluts” comments, and those Republicans too hung up – way too much – on abortion, while not caring enough about what happens to babies when they leave the womb, early childhood programs, health care, etc.

    What should he have done? Talked sincerely to the people of North Dakota, alleviating the fears of those who felt he was too ready to follow the tea-bagger leadership in the Senate, as he did in the House.

    SO..wonder why he lost? It started with ARROGANCE.

    • $8194357

      If arrogance were a deciding factor how did Barry make it out of Ilionois?

      • spud

        Because he has bright people running his campaign and doesn’t rely on reading and believing rasmussen and gallup polls like you. How did you do on your arrogant predictions my guess is they bit you in the butt. The true eliteist in this campaign rumnutts lost.

        • $8194357

          Tator tot..
          The Chicago machine is the definition of corrupt politics but
          you are right about one thing…
          Axelrod did his communist version of a Rove imitation real good..
          Five swing states with two sacred cow liberal left causes on the ballot to draw the liberal vote out full force…
          Second generation commie knows his divide and
          conqure agendas for sure…

          • borborygmi

            Were the two sacred cow liberal left causes on the ballots because the Conservatives put them there such as Minnesota, or were they on because the liberals wanted them? IF the former why blame the liberals if the latter, now you have a blue print how to turn out the vote. This also puts the conservatives at a huge disadvantage because any of their social conservative amendments will just produce a backlash of Liberal voters. Damned if you do or if you don’t.

          • $8194357

            Ya the devils “progressives” own the world..
            The lessor of two evils is never a good choice…
            Good thing my “citizenship” is in Heaven, huh.

        • tomorrowclear

          It’s really no different than anything they believe in. Forget about legitimate data or facts, let’s focus on dubious numbers from wholly impeachable sources. Emotion and, most of all, faith, over reason.

      • Your Greek buddy

        He sent his arrogance to Kenya.

        • $8194357

          Uncle arrogance?
          No that was Odinga…
          Hey E…
          Did ya open the Ouzo last night?

          • two_amber_lamps

            Maybe, but I betcha a bunch of preadolescence boys in the Stockton, CA area were walking funny this morning….

            Hello Ellinasty you Greekling pederast you! :)

          • $8194357

            Adults consenting is one thing but….

          • Your Greek buddy

            No ouzo last night.
            Sober celebration, big smiles and wondering why a lot of conservatives got it all wrong.
            How are you doing?

          • $8194357

            I’m not in the river de-nile.
            I am not worried about it much..
            My citizenship is in Heaven..
            All these thing s must come to pass and still the end won’t come…
            Keep your ears and eyes on Israel….
            therein lies the answers…
            She is “alone in the world”
            with wolves in sheeps clothing
            surrounding her…

    • DelawareBeachHouse

      Rick Berg is not an arrogant man, he’s just not a hale-fellow-well-met guy.
      Otherwise, legitimate arguments. Here’s another argument: Heitkamp campaign was to Obama campaign as Berg campaign was to Romney campaign. Her campaign went negative early, defining Berg, who comes across as somewhat uncomfortable when grassroots campaigning.
      In the end, though, the only way that Heitkamp could win was to campaign as a Republican. What kind of victory is that for a Democrat?

      • ellinas1

        DelawareBeachHouse: “What kind of victory is that for a Democrat?”

        The kind of victory victorious people win.

      • borborygmi

        The last few weeks of Heidi is going to close the Air Bases and shut down fracking, both patently false even as innuendo. If both sides would keep the national clowns out of the advertising they would fare much better. The outlandish doesn’t float here.

      • teacher

        campaign as a Republican? Explain what that means! You are reaching quite far!

        • Rob

          I don’t think that’s a reach at all. She sent out mailers saying she wasn’t Barack Obama. In interviews she said she “didn’t care” about the Democrat party platform. She talked about a balance budget amendment. She talked about building the Keystone Pipeline.

          Sure sounded like a republican to me.

  • Mike Quinn

    The people of North Dakota finally showed some hope and rebelled against the rich who now own our country. Berg was so arrogant in the way he disrespected working people that even the dumbest Hooplehead could figure it out. All the lying on this blog did not do a bit of good. The defeat of Berg should give all good people the courage to rebel against the greed of the Republican Party and take back North Dakota from the party of the greed dogs.

    • $8194357

      Americans have 17 trillion plus in debt dumb a$$..
      The “rich” are over seas enjoying the fruits of our labors…
      Blind useful fool tools for Americas destruction..

    • SJ

      Who is now the party of the “rich”? Obama won 8 of the top 10 richest counties in the US. Who has the support of Buffet and Gates? What has the support of the rich Hollywood libs?

  • Too Funny

    Will Rick get his deposit back from Washington ?

  • Lynn Bergman

    We have tapes of her conservative positions (except Obamacare, where she is in lockstep with other Dems) and will hold her to them during her 6-year term and especially if she seeks re-election. We will not tolerate a flip-flopper like Romney her in ND. That said, I have no reason to belive she was lying… except the Democrat party platform which she has largely abandoned with her rhetoric during the campaign. I wish her good will and publicly offer to help her implement any of her many expressed conservative positions. She will be a salmon swimming upstream against the high dam of the Democrat platform. Which reminds me to ask, “Democrats in North Dakota… have you even considered yet that it may be your far-left platform that has caused all of your losses? Do any of you make any distinction at all between society and government, between taxes and tithes?

    • borborygmi

      Lynn you are pro life I assume. You also stated that illegals are running up health care costs/ Which they are as is anyone without insurance who can’t afford their medical bill. Where you hoping that Illegals should just disappear go back to wherever thus easing medical costs or where you for not letting them use the facilities thus again reducing costs. Just wondering?

  • tomorrowclear

    Do you know what the sad thing is? Right-wingers will conclude from their presidential and senate losses that their candidates just weren’t right wing enough. The party will become further and further marginalized, a regional party capable of winning the House from time-to-time, but not the Senate or the White House. That’s not good for America. A two-party system depends upon a loyal opposition.

    • borborygmi

      Instead of finding out why single females didn’t vote for Romney or Latinos or 55% of women all they can come up with is” Well we just have to explain better why they should join us. I can believe they wouldn’t join us since we are right” The social Conservatives are a millstone around the Republican Parties Neck.
      They threw some very conservative members against Romney , Santorum and Bachmann especially. Why didn’t they succeed. Because the majority does not want to go that far right. But the Conservative are convinced they right and in their arrogance they can’t understand why the majority doesn’t want to side with the minority. When the conservative lemmings jump on Christie for saying something positive about the other side, When you have people like Levin screaming at you, Coulter denigrating anything left of far right, AKin and Murdock becoming the poster children for the TEA PARTy and idiots like hairpc egomaniac still beating the birther drum you will lose every time. The Majority doesn’t want any part of it. Talk about drinking the kool-aid. Tea Party Conservative Lemmings. Blame everything and everyone else just do blame us is their motto. Personal responsibility …Conservatives never heard of it.

  • ellinas1

    Rob Port: “Heitkamp won with an ugly, bruising campaign focused on making people hate Rick Berg.”

    Did Berg run a clean campaign? Did he say ugly and bruising things about HeitKamp?
    Or you did you run his ugly and bruising campaign with your blog.
    You were a good soldier. A surrogate attack dog if you will. You fought the ugly fight for Berg, and both you and Berg lost.

  • Steve1

    Rick Berg simply doesn’t come off as likeable and the Goldmark rental business made it worse. Cass County delivered a 10000 vote margin for Heitkamp, which western cities couldn’t overcome.

    Cramer will be the one to gain the seat from Heitkamp in 2018, which is ironic because the RINOs wanted to shut him out of federal office. Cramer and Conservatives are the real long term victors.

    • DelawareBeachHouse

      As a non-RINO but anti-Cramer primary voter, I assure you we did not want to keep Cramer out of office. We just gave greater respect to the convention/primary process, finding it an important party process. Now that Kevin’s in, we’re with him, 100 percent.

      • stever1

        Some respect the RINO’s gave the convention process: Santorum wins the caucuses and Romney wins the delegates. That was totally disrepecting the process, so your comment is total B. S. Cramer wasn’t going to enter into a process that was rigged against him, like Berg / Hoeven did in 2010.

        • DelawareBeachHouse

          How was it rigged against him? It was the same process it always was, the same process Kevin supported as party executive director and chairman.

          But, water under the bridge, over the dam, and down the river. Go Kevin!

          And, hey, what’s with the gratuitous “B.S.”? Can’t you make an argument without an insult?

    • dakotacyr

      Cramer will never get that seat from her. Never!

      • Rob

        Heitkamp won’t be up for re-election for the better part of a decade, so it’s foolish for anyone to think they can forecast that race.

        But even more foolish is saying never.

  • Matthew Hawkins

    As the “leading political blogger in ND” did you make one call that was accurate?

    • Mike Quinn

      You hit the nail on the head. The dinger blog could not predict the sun coming up tomorrow. This bunch of right wing nut cases are so absorbed in their own lying, and paranoia that they would rather make up a weather report than look out the window. The simple minded right wing dingers that eat this meal of lies everyday pose the biggest threat to our country. Germany was brought to its knees when the dingers got out of control. Thank God the election showed the dingers are still held back by the levee of reality.

  • yamyam

    Another rousing victory for democrats, IN A RED STATE!

  • Truther

    The reason he didn’t carry the east, his homefront, is because they know him……

  • teacher

    This is a very disappointing article. Let’s forge ahead and respect the fact that Heidi is intelligent, resourceful, hard working and is also a good listener. That is what I look for in a leader.

  • Don Quixote

    One reason for Berg’s loss. Cass County! It has the highest population of any county in the state. They voted Heidi over Berg by about 10,000.

    As for all the doomsday rhetoric, don’t forget that Republicans swept the state for all other offices and that one senator would not change the composition in the Senate for the next two years. So get a grip, look at the situation rationally and enjoy your bastion of conservative republicism while you can.