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Berg lands House nomination

After a highly competitive race to get the North Dakota Republican Party's nomination to run for the U.S. House of Representatives, state Rep. Rick Berg, R-Fargo, was declared the official party candidate Saturday.

After a highly competitive race to get the North Dakota Republican Party's nomination to run for the U.S. House of Representatives, state Rep. Rick Berg, R-Fargo, was declared the official party candidate Saturday.

More than 1,400 delegates cast their ballots Saturday during the state convention to select the candidate who will challenge Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D., as he makes his bid for a 10th term in the House.

Berg, who has been in the state House since 1985, needed 735 votes to secure the nomination and ended up with 972 delegates voting in his favor at Grand Forks' Alerus Center.

Berg's acceptance speech pointed out that securing the nomination was "just the first step."

"What we want to do is we want to give North Dakota its congressional seat back to the people," he said.

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Getting the nod

The "common bond" that links state Republicans now, Berg said, is the objective to "take the country back" and get the economy going.

"Clearly, this is something that we're going to need your prayers in, and we're going to need your hard work in, and we're going to need your donations in," he said. "If we can put what we're doing in North Dakota in Washington, our country's going to be better off and our children's future is going to be better off."

Public Service Commissioner chairman Kevin Cramer, Berg's toughest competition for the nomination, received 442 delegate votes. He made a motion to cast a unanimous party ballot making Berg the official candidate, saying Berg would now be tasked with helping to "take America back."

"It's a great time to celebrate and then get ready to go to work tomorrow because it's a long road ahead," Cramer said about the campaign to the November election.

Two other Republicans were also seeking the House nomination -- Kenmare businessman J.D. Donaghe, who received 34 votes, and DuWayne Hendrickson of Minot, who received four votes.

Donaghe's concession speech thanked the large number of delegates for coming out to the convention, saying the crowd was about double the turnout for the 2008 Republican convention.

"I'm honored and proud to see the participation by this group today," he said.

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Donaghe said a prayer for Berg's campaign efforts this year, and then seconded Cramer's motion for a unanimous ballot backing Berg as the official candidate. The motion was approved by delegates, meaning Berg will be the official Republican candidate for the House during the June 8 primary.

Results

Berg told reporters the next step after the endorsement is to spread the message he brought to convention delegates to all of the state's residents. He said the large convention turnout, especially considering it's a nonpresidential election year, is a sign that many people don't like the way the country is going.

"I think the reason there's so many people here is they want Washington to go a different direction," he said.

But Berg said he's running his campaign based on results, and will focus his message first on creating jobs in America and getting a handle on the country's deficit spending.

"Really my goal is to make our nation more like North Dakota," he said. "I'd like North Dakota results in Washington."

When asked if he felt confident he could raise enough money to successfully challenge Pomeroy, Berg said the campaign will be "person to person," adding that "it's not just about money in North Dakota." He said his strategy against Pomeroy will be "pretty simple" -- a focus on getting results that isn't happening in Washington.

"What brought me in this race was not so much a title, but a frustration with the results and policy coming out of Washington," he said. "I knew if I wanted to make a difference, I had to get into the race."

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Johnson reports on local politics. Reach him at (701) 780-1105; (800) 477-6572, ext. 105; or send e-mail to rjohnson@gfherald.com .

Related Topics: RICK BERG
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