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Associated Press, Published January 27 2012

Heitkamp raises nearly $500K for Senate bid

WASHINGTON – The campaign of North Dakota Democrat Heidi Heitkamp’s said Friday she raised just under $500,000 for her U.S. Senate bid in the final quarter of 2011.

Heitkamp’s campaign released her fundraising numbers to The Associated Press on Friday. The former North Dakota attorney general and one-time gubernatorial candidate is running to replace Sen. Kent Conrad, also a Democrat, who is retiring at the end of his term. GOP Rep. Rick Berg is also running for the seat.

Heitkamp campaign spokeswoman Gail Hand said Heitkamp was pleased with the wide spectrum of people who gave to her campaign.

“The breadth of this support demonstrates that North Dakotans want leaders who will set party interests aside and put North Dakota and our country first,” Hand said. “We have big problems to solve in this country, and this early fundraising success will help us take our message to the people of North Dakota.”

Heitkamp’s fundraising reflects the final quarter of 2011, when she announced her bid for the Senate. She announced her campaign midway through the fourth quarter of 2011.

Berg hasn’t released his fundraising for the most recent quarter yet. But the congressman reported having raised about $1 million as of September 2011 with nearly all of that cash-on-hand.

Republicans believe Conrad’s retirement makes North Dakota an excellent opportunity to pick up a seat in their quest to take back the Senate. The GOP needs to pick up a net of four seats to take over control of the Senate.

Democrats have pointed to polls showing Heitkamp as competitive in the race. They say they believe she will give Democrats a good chance of holding on to the seat.

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