Berg vs. Heitkamp U.S. Senate Race Officially Begins…Unofficially
It’s official: Congressman Rick Berg received the North Dakota Republican Party’s endorsement for U.S. Senate at this weekend’s NDGOP Convention in Bismarck. “Thank you. Thank you North Dakota Republicans. I want to thank you all for an amazing journey that’s just beginning,” said Berg.
It’s a big boost for Berg as he heads into June’s Republican primary because now he can focus his attention on Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Heidi Heitkamp. “America is headed down the wrong track in a hurry and if we don’t do something about it right now, if we don’t change the way our government operates and get this country back on the road to growth and prosperity, my son and all of our children and grandchildren won’t inherit the same country we inherited. They won’t have the opportunities that our parents made sure that we had,” said Berg.
Berg upset longtime Democratic Congressman Earl Pomeroy in the 2010 election and went to work in the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives where he oftentimes found himself at odds with the Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate and White House. “For the last 3 years the U.S. Senate has given President Obama an unchecked stamp of approval and today we take the first step towards stopping his overreach policies that are harming North Dakota families and North Dakota small business,” said Berg.
At last month’s Democratic Convention in Grand Forks, former President Bill Clinton was brought in to campaign for Heitkamp and he took a swing at President Bush and the Republicans for destroying all the good, that he says, his administration accomplished in the 90’s. “President Obama comes in with a lot of no win situations. The picture he painted of the America he wanted to lead us to was still highly relevant but how to get there was drastically changed once we had a financial collapse,” said Clinton at the ND Dem-NPL Convention last month.
But North Dakota Republicans have their own political rock stars going to bat for Berg. They say the argument that President Obama and the Democrats inherited a terrible economy that’s going to take some time to rebound doesn’t hold weight because Democrats have been in power the past few years.
Republican North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem told the NDGOP Convention audience that Berg is needed in the U.S. Senate to help tip the balance of power. “Each day when I go to work I am faced with a new series of challenges. 8 lawsuits and climbing, challenging, one overreaching fiat or another created by the EPA. Potential lawsuits against the Corps of Engineers for hampering our use of our own water. Numerous other battles against one federal agency or another. And of course the highly charged litigation challenging the federal government’s enactment of the most unpopular and I think unconstitutional legislation in a generation, the federal healthcare law,” said Stenehjem.
Former U.S. Ag Secretary and Republican North Dakota Governor Ed Schafer worked with Berg when he was in the governor’s office in the 1990’s and Berg was a state legislator. “I have been in the trenches with Rick and I know that when push comes to shove he is the person I want standing there fighting to lower budgets, to get a grip on overspending and to attack the national debt that has been run-up by (President Obama) to $16 trillion,” said Schafer.
Former North Dakota First Lady Mikey Hoeven also offered her support for Berg. “Rick understands the importance of building a better North Dakota for future generations. He has worked to grow our state and to create more opportunities for his son Jack and all of our children,” said Hoeven, whose husband is U.S. Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND).
Former North Dakota Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp, North Dakota’s Democratic U.S. Senate candidate, points to Social Security and healthcare as reasons why voters should elect her and go with the Democratic platform. “We are strong defenders of this country. We are strong believers in taking care of our neighbors. (Democrats are) strong champions of creating good jobs for middle-class families and strong protectors of our children, our seniors and our veterans,” said Heitkamp.
But Republicans say Democrats in Washington need to be held accountable for their actions. “Today we take the first step in telling (Senate Majority Leader) Harry Reid (D-Nevada), and the rest of the Obama liberal allies in the Senate, that their reign is over,” said Berg.
Democrats blame the Republican-controlled House for the partisanship and lack of results. “The Washington way is Rick Berg’s way,” said Heitkamp.
Rushing to Berg’s defense is U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD), who joined Berg in Congress the last election cycle as part of a group of 87 Republican House freshmen who have repeatedly flexed their conservative muscles, making a strong impact on legislation. “You will not find a harder worker out in Washington, D.C. (Berg) has got a good work ethic and he is determined, not only when it came to big votes like (Congress) faced this last year with a balanced budget amendment, but also repealing Obamacare, which we have voted 26 times to repeal or replace parts of Obamacare. But (there’s) also an initiative that Rick has championed himself. It’s called the REGS Agenda, which basically is reigning-in all of those outlandish regulations that (the Obama Administration) has been able to dream-up,” said Noem, who addressed the NDGOP Convention as the keynote speaker.
The NDGOP establishment now formally stands behind Berg. Republican Senate candidate Duane Sand chose to skip this weekend’s convention and will try to beat Berg in the June primary but Berg and the NDGOP don’t seem concerned about Sand. They’re going after Heitkamp and the Democrats now. “Today we are saying North Dakota is ready to do away with the Washington way and lead our country towards a bigger America, a stronger America and a growing America,” said Berg.Tags: bill clinton, Ed Schafer, Heidi Heitkamp, kristi noem, Mikey Hoeven, ND Dem-NPL, NDGOP, North Dakota News, Rick Berg, Wayne Stenehjem