Heidi Heitkamp is the Democratic candidate for US Senator in North Dakota in the 2012 elections for the Senate. Rick Berg is the Republican candidate.
Early Life and Career
Heidi Heitkamp grew up in Mantador, North Dakota, in a family of 9. She attended the University of North Dakota for her BA and got her JD from Lewis and Clark. She worked as the state tax commissioner from 1988 to 1992 and served as state attorney general from 1993 to 2001. She is currently a director of the Dakota Gasification Company,
Rick Berg grew up in Maddock, North Dakota, and studied Agricultural Studies at North Dakota State University. After graduation, he co-founded Goldmark Commercial Corporation, a real-estate firm. He has served in the North Dakota House of Representatives since 1984 and has been the U.S. Representative for North Dakota since January 2011.
Differences in Economic Policy
Heidi Heitkamp supports a minimum 30% tax rate for those who earn over $1 million a year. 
Rick Berg wants to extend the tax cuts passed by George W. Bush and repeal estate tax and the death tax. 
Heidi Heitkamp supports a Balanced Budget Amendment, but wants exemptions for programs like Medicare that provide services to the poor and the elderly. 
Rick Berg supports the Balanced Budget Amendment, a law that would prevent the US government from spending more than its income. 
Heidi Heitkamp believes in protecting Medicare and Social Security, as workers have contributed to these schemes with expectations of returns in the future. 
Rick Berg opposes privatizing Social Security and believes money should be raised for the program through oil drilling on federally-owned land. 
Heidi Heitkamp is extremely supportive of Critical Access Hospitals. She supported Obama's healthcare reform in 2010, but she has since criticized parts of the program for its federal mandate to purchase insurance and the amount of red tape involved. 
Heidi Heitkamp has not made her stance on abortion public.
Rick Berg opposes legal abortion. 
Heidi Heitkamp has yet to speak about immigration.
Rick Berg opposed amnesty for illegal immigrants. He wants immigration reform to focus on securing the borders of the US. 
Heidi Heitkamp believes gay marriage is an issue that should be decided by individual states. 
Rick Berg opposes gay marriage. 
Heidi Heitkamp has accused Republican candidates of an “assault on women’s health and freedom.” She supports access to contraception. 
Rick Berg opposes laws that require healthcare plans to cover contraceptives. 
Heidi Heitkamp is against centralized control over education. 
Rick Berg has not spoken about education policy.
Heidi Heitkamp has not made her stance on gun control clear.
Rick Berg received A and A+ ratings from the National Rifle Association for his stance on gun rights. 
Heidi Heitkamp aims to reduce North Dakota’s dependence on oil from the Mideast and to invest in sustainable, renewable power sources, such as wind and solar power. 
Rick Berg wants to curtail EPA regulations and supports drilling for oil in federal lands, such as the Theodore Roosevelt National Park, to provide funding for social security. He supports an increase in offshore oil and gas sales and supports energy independence. 
Heidi Heitkamp supports a cut in the farm bill, but wants to protect crop insurance. 
Rick Berg supports funding agricultural reform and reducing restrictions on the industry. 
Differences in Foreign Policy
Position on Iran
Heidi Heitkamp has not spoken about her stance on Iran.
Rick Berg supports economic sanctions against Iran until Iran stops pursuing nuclear weapons and supporting terrorist groups. 
Position of Afghanistan
Heidi Heitkamp supported the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. 
Rick Berg voted against removing US armed forces from Afghanistan. 
The first debate between Heitkamp and Berg was Sept. 5 in Bismarck and sponsored by the North Dakota Broadcasters Association. Among the topics debated were Social Security, taxes and the state’s oil boom. The audio for the full debate is included below:
The second debate was held at Prairie Public Broadcasting in Fargo. The full video is presented below:
Heitkamp vs Berg in Opinion Polls
This is an extremely tight race with Rick Berg and Heidi Heitkamp both running neck and neck in the opinion polls.
|Poll source|| Date(s)|
|Heidi Heitkamp (D)||Rick Berg (R)|
|Mason-Dixon||October 3-5, 2012||47%||47%|
|Rasmussen Reports||July 10–11, 2012||40%||49%|
|Mason Dixon||June 4–6, 2012||47%||46%|
|Forum Communications Co.||May 3-8, 2012||44%||51%|