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Dale Wetzel, Associated Press, Published October 29 2010

Anti-Pomeroy ad: North Dakota economy ‘reeling’

BISMARCK – Both Democratic U.S. Rep. Earl Pomeroy and his Republican challenger, Rick Berg, took issue Thursday with a new TV ad that is critical of Pomeroy for saying that North Dakota’s economy is “reeling.”

North Dakota’s unemployment rate has been lower than 4 percent for the past six months, less than half the national rate, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. It has not risen above 4.4 percent in the past decade.

The federal Bureau of Economic Analysis said the state’s 2 percent growth in personal income during April, May and June was the strongest in the nation; the data is the latest available. North Dakota’s Commerce Department has been trying to recruit workers to the state because of a labor shortage, and analysts have predicted the state’s treasury will have a $1 billion surplus by June.

Neither Pomeroy nor Berg has asserted during their House campaign that North Dakota’s economy is in poor shape, and Berg often says during public appearances that the state’s economy “is the envy of the nation.”

“Somebody is wrong, and it’s not Rick Berg,” said Tom Nelson, Berg’s campaign manager.

The ad was distributed by American Crossroads, a Washington, D.C., group that is supporting Republican candidates. A spokesman for the group, Jonathan Collegio, said North Dakota’s unemployment rate has been higher during the last two years than at any time in the past decade.

From September 2008 until September 2010, North Dakota’s jobless rate has ranged from 3.4 percent to 4.4 percent, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The chairman of American Crossroads is Mike Duncan, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, and one of its advisers is Karl Rove, a former strategist and deputy chief of staff to Republican President George W. Bush.

“North Dakotans are going to see through this phony ad, just like they’ve seen through Rick Berg’s phony Washington talking points,” Pomeroy spokesman Brenden Timpe said.

The ad begins: “North Dakota’s economy is reeling and Congressman Earl Pomeroy is making it worse.” It is critical of Pomeroy’s support for federal stimulus spending and increases in the national debt.

Nelson said the ad “got the back half of it right” and said, “This is proof that there is no coordination between the outside groups and our campaign.”

Timpe said Pomeroy’s support for federal farm legislation and opposition to Environmental Protection Agency regulation of carbon dioxide have helped to maintain the state’s economic momentum.

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