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.

Comparison chart

Heidi Heitkamp versus Rick Berg comparison chart
Edit this comparison chartHeidi HeitkampRick Berg
  • current rating is 3.54/5
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(70 ratings)
  • current rating is 3.18/5
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(62 ratings)
Political Party Democrat Republican
Budget Supports Balanced Budget Amendment but wants exemptions for programs like Medicare Supports Balanced Budget Amendment
Tax Policy Wants to increase taxes on those who earn over $1 million a year Wants to extend tax cuts and eliminate estate tax
Social Security Opposes any cuts Opposed privatization and believes should be funded through oil drilling on federal lands
“Obamacare” Initially supported, but has since distanced herself from the bill. Opposes Obamacare reform
Medicare Supports Medicare Supports, but has proposed cuts to the program.
Abortion No public stance Opposes Abortion
Gay Rights Believes gay marriage is an issue for the states. Opposes gay marriage
Immigration No clearly stated policies. Opposes amnesty for illegal immigrants and wants to tighten up the borders.
Education Opposes centralized control No clearly stated policies
Women’s Rights Supports access to contraceptives Opposes mandates that insurers cover contraceptives.
Gun Control No public stance Opposes gun control
Energy Independence Supports Supports
Energy Policy Wants to invest in sustainable, renewable power sources. Wants to increase offshore drilling and drilling on federal lands.
Environmental Policy Supports cuts to the farm bill, but wants to protect crop insurance. Supports cuts to the farm bill, including crop insurance.
Iran No public stance Supports economic sanctions.
Afghanistan Supported removal of troops Opposed removal of troops
Date of birth October 30th 1955 August 15th 1959
Logo of Republican and Democratic parties
Logo of Republican and Democratic parties

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

Tax Policy

Heidi Heitkamp supports a minimum 30% tax rate for those who earn over $1 million a year. [1]

Rick Berg wants to extend the tax cuts passed by George W. Bush and repeal estate tax and the death tax. [2]


Heidi Heitkamp supports a Balanced Budget Amendment, but wants exemptions for programs like Medicare that provide services to the poor and the elderly. [3]

Rick Berg supports the Balanced Budget Amendment, a law that would prevent the US government from spending more than its income. [4]

Social Security

Heidi Heitkamp believes in protecting Medicare and Social Security, as workers have contributed to these schemes with expectations of returns in the future. [5]

Rick Berg opposes privatizing Social Security and believes money should be raised for the program through oil drilling on federally-owned land. [6]

Healthcare Policy

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. [7]

Rick Berg supports the critical access hospital program, which provides assistance to rural hospitals. He wants to repeal Obama’s health care bill. [8]

Social Issues


Heidi Heitkamp has not made her stance on abortion public.

Rick Berg opposes legal abortion. [9]


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. [10]

Gay rights

Heidi Heitkamp believes gay marriage is an issue that should be decided by individual states. [11]

Rick Berg opposes gay marriage. [12]

Women’s Rights

Heidi Heitkamp has accused Republican candidates of an “assault on women’s health and freedom.” She supports access to contraception. [13]

Rick Berg opposes laws that require healthcare plans to cover contraceptives. [14]

Education Policy

Heidi Heitkamp is against centralized control over education. [15]

Rick Berg has not spoken about education policy.

Gun Control

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. [16]

Energy Policy

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. [17]

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. [18]

Environmental Policy

Heidi Heitkamp supports a cut in the farm bill, but wants to protect crop insurance. [19]

Rick Berg supports funding agricultural reform and reducing restrictions on the industry. [20]

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. [21]

Position of Afghanistan

Heidi Heitkamp supported the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. [22]

Rick Berg voted against removing US armed forces from Afghanistan. [23]


First Debate

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:

Second Debate

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%


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