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  N.D. Senate Race Is in Play for Democrat Heitkamp
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ContributorScott³ 
Last EditedScott³  Aug 04, 2012 01:30pm
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CategoryAnalysis
AuthorCaitlin Huey-Burns
News DateFriday, August 3, 2012 09:00:00 PM UTC0:0
Description"Most North Dakotans do not like President Obama or his health care law, surveys show. Voters here have not backed a Democrat for president since 1964, and polling forecasts a loss for the White House occupant in November.

But North Dakotans also have a deep history of splitting the ticket. And that, mixed with a strong candidate and a booming economy, makes Democrats hopeful about winning a U.S. Senate seat here, despite the otherwise discouraging atmospherics.

The Senate race figures to be one of the most competitive in the country -- but it wasn’t supposed to be this way.

When veteran Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad announced his retirement last year, Republicans angling for control of the upper chamber saw a prime pickup opportunity. Two years ago, voters booted the state’s lone congressman, nine-term Democrat Earl Pomeroy, in favor of longtime Republican state legislator and former real estate developer Rick Berg. In that same election, they sent Republican Gov. John Hoeven to the Senate to replace a retiring Byron Dorgan, narrowing the Democratic majority in the upper chamber to just four seats. Republicans currently run the state government too."
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