Rep. Rick Berg just cast his final vote in the US House. He’ll be heading back to the private sector after failing in his bid to move to the Senate. By the narrowest of margins, North Dakotans picked liberal Democrat Heidi Heitkamp over him.
But Berg finished strong. Even as his fellow North Dakota Republican John Hoeven voted for the “fiscal cliff” bill in the Senate (read his justifications here), Berg cast his ballot against the Senate’s “fiscal cliff” bill which adds just $62 billion in new revenue per year, and nearly $4 trillion to deficit projections over the next ten years.
Berg’s short time in the US House won’t be heralded by many as it ends. Liberals in the state were happy to see him out of office, and conservatives feel he squandered his opportunity to move up to the Senate by running a lackadaisical campaign.
Berg lost because of his personality more than anything else. Heitkamp needed to make voters hate Rick Berg, and she succeeded, proving that the very sort of campaign everyone claims to hate – a very negative campaign long on mud-slinging and short on issues – works pretty well.
But Berg’s last vote in the House proves that he would have governed closer to what North Dakotans want than Heitkamp, if he’d been given the chance.
We can at least take solace in the fact that Berg will be replaced by Cramer who is, if anything, even more conservative.