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Veterans PAC backing Sand in GOP Senate primary

BISMARCK -- A veterans' group is buying television advertising to support Republican Duane Sand's U.S. Senate primary campaign because of rival GOP congressman Rick Berg's support for raising the national debt limit, its director said.

Sand's status as a former Navy submarine officer also factored into the decision, said Joel Arends, president of the Veterans for a Strong America Action Group.

Arends said the organization is a "super PAC," which may raise and spend unlimited amounts of money on political ads. The political action committee's ad against Berg cost $40,000 and will begin airing Friday, he said.

The Federal Election Commission had no record of the organization on its website on Wednesday. Arends said paperwork to set up the PAC was sent to the FEC early


Arends declined to say where the PAC received its financing, saying the information would be included in its first federal campaign disclosure filing.

Super PACs may not coordinate their activities with individual candidates' campaigns. Sand said Wednesday he had not seen the ad and was unaware of the organization until he heard a news story about it.

"I think the Republican establishment is underestimating how widespread and deep the voter discontent is about this unsustainable debt path that we're on," Sand said. "That's why it's been a key part of my messaging."

Chris Van Guilder, a spokesman for Berg's Senate campaign, called the ad a "negative attack from (an) out-of-state group."