Popular Hoeven to stump for Berg
FARGO -- With Election Day less than four weeks away and North Dakota's U.S. Senate race in a dead heat, candidates will be looking to their parties' most popular figures in the state to help woo undecided voters.
Neither campaign is tipping its hand too far, but both indicate some of their parties' most well-liked statesmen will ramp up support in the home stretch.
For U.S. Rep. Rick Berg, that's expected to mean a greater presence on the stump by Republican Sen. John Hoeven.
After enjoying a 73 percent approval rating as governor (according to a 2008 Forum poll) and winning his 2010 Senate race with 76 percent of the vote, Hoeven remains a popular GOP figure in the state. He has been outwardly supporting Berg's campaign for some time, including in a TV spot that began airing in March.
"We look forward to working very closely with Senator Hoeven over the final weeks of the campaign to share our message of bringing the North Dakota way of doing things to the U.S. Senate to balance the budget, put people back to work, and put our country back on track," Berg spokesman Chris Van Guilder said.
Democrat Heidi Heitkamp's campaign will receive backing from former Sen. Byron Dorgan, whose decision not to seek a fourth term in 2010 cleared the way for Hoeven's easy victory, as well as outgoing Sen. Kent Conrad.
Conrad and Dorgan "have both indicated that they would be supportive," Heitkamp spokesman Brandon Lorenz said.
"I think Heidi appreciates having their support, but at the end of the day, ultimately this is about the two folks who are on the ballot and about how Heidi is standing up for North Dakota priorities," he said.
A Valley News Live/Mason-Dixon poll released this week showed Berg and Heitkamp tied at 47 percent with 6 percent of respondents undecided.