National Journal Ranks ND’s Senate Seat As Second Most Likely To Change Partisan Hands
National Journal has another edition of their Senate rankings up today, and again North Dakota’s Senate race ranks as the second in the nation most likely to change partisan hands. The seat is currently held by Democrat Senator Kent Conrad, who is retiring rather than run for another term, so that means the Journal is saying Berg is likely to win.
This matches with rankings from the Washington Post which also have Berg as the likely winner of his competition with liberal Democrat Heidi Heitkamp (Berg’s primary race against fellow Republican Duane Sand isn’t being factored into any of this).
This is bad news for Heitkamp. The media blitz that surrounded the launch of her campaign didn’t do enough to even her with Berg in the eyes of the political prognosticators. Now she’s having a very difficult time with the Obamacare issue, and her campaign isn’t likely to get easier from there.
Meanwhile, there’s been some speculation about what Rick Berg’s big media buys mean. Forum Communications says Berg is “spending freely,” and the spin from Democrats is that it means he’s worried.
More likely it’s the sort of spending a candidate confident in his campaign finances does. Contrast the $347,000 Berg is spending with the $35,000 campaign sources tell me Heitkamp is launching today, no doubt to distract from what will be a lively NDGOP state convention this weekend. Money doesn’t mean everything in politics, but Heitkamp’s is a weak buy which may be indicative of weak fundraising.
A SAB reader also tells me that Heitkamp was spotted flying out of Bismarck to Minneapolis and back again yesterday. Hard to say what she’s up to, but my guess is that she’s traveling to liberal, out-of-state urban centers to raise funds. The Democrats are a thoroughly marginalized party in North Dakota, and their fundraising networks in the state are almost non-existent. If Heitkamp wants funds, she’s got to get them from somewhere else.Tags: election 2012, Heidi Heitkamp, North Dakota News, Rick Berg