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Senate front-runners collect nearly $1 million total in April, May

FARGO -- The two front-runners for North Dakota's U.S. Senate seat have collected nearly $1 million in contributions in just eight weeks, newly filed reports to the Federal Election Commission show.

Heidi Heitkamp
Heidi Heitkamp portrait from fall 2011.

FARGO -- The two front-runners for North Dakota's U.S. Senate seat have collected nearly $1 million in contributions in just eight weeks, newly filed reports to the Federal Election Commission show.

Between April 1 and May 23, Democrat Heidi Heitkamp took in $497,000 in campaign contributions and joint fundraising, while Republican Rep. Rick Berg collected $443,300 from similar sources during that same period.

Despite Heitkamp's edge in fundraising over those two months, Berg has more than twice the amount of cash on hand $1.6 million.

Neither Heitkamp's nor Berg's campaigns would release details Friday about the source of these latest donations.

Republican challenger Duane Sand had not released his pre-primary fundraising report, as of 4 p.m. Friday.


Thursday was the deadline for North Dakota's federal candidates to file their pre-primary fundraising figures, which cover the period from April 1 through May 23.

The statewide primary is June 12. Heitkamp is running unopposed for the Democratic nomination, while Berg and Sand are competing for the official GOP nomination.

Federal candidates can either file electronically on the FEC's website or submit their reports by postal mail. Heitkamp and Berg have typically opted for the latter, a move that delays public access to their full reports by at least a week.

Heitkamp's campaign spokesman Brandon Lorenz and Berg's campaign spokesman Chris Van Guilder both provided the summary pages of their candidates' pre-primary reports on Friday, but each declined a request by Forum Communications for a copy of the entire report.

The Forum has also requested a full pre-primary report from Sand.

Heitkamp report

According to the summary pages of Heitkamp's latest report, she collected $393,400 in total contributions from April 1 to May 23.

Of that, 80 percent --or $316,700 -- came from individual donors. Political action committees and special-interest groups donated $76,300, or 20 percent of her latest haul.


In addition to those contributions, Heitkamp's campaign also received $102,800 in transfers from authorized committees, which represent her collaborative fundraising efforts with other Senate candidates and key Senate Democrats.

Just this week, for instance, Heitkamp participated in another major fundraiser in California.

Influential Senate Democrat Dianne Feinstein held a $35,800-per-couple fundraiser to benefit Senate hopefuls, like Heitkamp, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

FEC records show Heitkamp is now tied to at least eight joint-fundraising committees. Since Jan. 1, Heitkamp has received $224,400 from those fundraising efforts, according to the FEC.

Between contributions directly to her campaign and the joint fundraising efforts, Heitkamp collected $497,100 in April and May, her report shows.

As of May 23, Heitkamp's campaign had collected more than $1.4 million in contributions since the start of her Senate bid in November. She reports $760,000 in cash on hand and no debt.

Berg's summary

Meanwhile, Berg's summary report shows he collected about $435,700 in total contributions during the eight-week stretch since he secured North Dakota Republicans' endorsement in the U.S. Senate race.


Of that total, $299,700 -- or 69 percent -- came from individuals, while $136,000 - or 31 percent - came from political parties and special-interest groups.

In addition to those contributions, Berg also received $7,600 in transfers from authorized committees. In April, Berg became affiliated with several joint-fundraising committees with other Senate Republican hopefuls.

Between the joint-fundraising efforts and direct contributions to his campaign, Berg took in $443,300 between April 1 and May 23.

Since he launched his Senate run more than a year ago, Berg has raised nearly $3 million, his FEC report shows.

As of May 23, Berg reported $1.6 million in cash on hand - more than twice as much as Heitkamp has in the bank.

Berg also reports $104,500 in debt, $100,000 of which is a personal loan Berg gave to his campaign fund back when he was running for U.S. House in 2010.

The Forum and the Herald are both owned by Forum Communications Co.


U.S. Rep. Rick Berg, R-N.D.

U.S. Rep. Rick Berg, R-N.D.

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