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Published July 02 2012

Big names, big dollars: North Dakota Senate candidates get donations from rich, famous

FARGO – The competitive campaign for North Dakota’s U.S. Senate seat has attracted dozens of notable donors.

Prominent business tycoons, politicians and celebrities – both near and far – have thrown their financial weight behind Republican Rep. Rick Berg and Democrat Heidi Heitkamp.

While most of these donations came directly from the individuals listed, a handful in Heitkamp’s case came by way of joint fundraising events with other Democratic Senate candidates.

Such donations were divided up among Heitkamp and the other beneficiaries of those fundraisers. That’s the case in the donations that came from Microsoft founder Bill Gates, film director and producer Rob Reiner and “Lost” producer J.J. Abrams.

This data was compiled by The Forum after an analysis of the candidates’ campaign finance reports for the 2012 election through June 12.

The figures cover personal contributions from these individuals and do not include donations made through political action committees that also might be tied to some of these same individuals.

Rick Berg

Total raised as of May 23: $3.2 million

Cash on hand, as of May 23: $1.6 million

Reported campaign debt: $105,000


Timothy Corwin, president of Corwin Toyota: $10,000

Jim Ingstad, owner of Radio Fargo-Moorhead (and wife, Victoria): $10,000

David Meyer, founder, CEO and chairman of Titan Machinery (and wife, Candace): $10,000

Gregory Page, CEO of Cargill, Inc. (and wife, Cynthia): $7,000

Ace Brandt, developer of Fargo’s Urban Plains subdivision and owner of the Fargo Force junior hockey team: $5,000

Doug Burgum, chairman of the Kilbourne Group: $5,000

Jack Dalrymple, North Dakota governor (and wife, Betsy): $5,000

Ron Offutt, founder and CEO of RDO Equipment (and wife, Karen): $5,000

Steve D. Scheel, CEO and chairman of Scheels All-Sports: $2,500

Steve Swiontek, president and CEO of Gate City Bank: $2,500

Bruce Furness, former Fargo mayor: $2,000

David Berg, president and CEO of American Crystal Sugar Co.: $1,000

Roger Gjellstad, CEO of Stanley Equipment: $1,000


Riley P. Bechtel, CEO and chairman of Bechtel Corp.: $5,000

William B. Hilton, chairman of Hilton Hotels Corp.: $5,000

Sam Zell, chairman of the Tribune Co.: $2,500

Matthew Rose, CEO of Burlington Northern Sante Fe Railway: $1,000

David Holl, president of Mary Kay, Inc.: $500

Adam Goodman, president of Paramount Pictures: $250

Heidi Heitkamp

Total raised as of May 23: $1.7 million

Cash on hand, as of May 23: $759,000

Reported campaign debt: $0


Kent Conrad, North Dakota U.S. senator (and wife, Lucy Calautti): $10,000

Joel Heitkamp, Fargo radio personality (also, brother of Heidi Heitkamp): $2,750

Byron Dorgan, retired North Dakota U.S. senator (and wife, Kimberly): $2,000

Christi Offutt, CEO of RDO Equipment: $2,000

Garrison Keillor, Minnesota Public Radio host: $1,250

Jon Lindgren, former Fargo mayor: $1,000

Earl Pomeroy, former North Dakota U.S. representative: $1,000

David Berg, president and CEO of American Crystal Sugar Co.: $250


Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway: $2,500

Jennifer Granholm, “Current” TV host and former Michigan governor: $2,500

J.J. Abrams, film/TV director and founder of Bad Robot Productions: $2,000

Barbra Streisand, actress and singer: $1,000

Eliot Spitzer, “Current” TV personality and former New York governor: $500

Bill Gates, founder and chairman of Microsoft: $571.43

Rob Reiner, film director and producer: $222.22

Readers can reach Forum reporter Kristen Daum at (701) 241-5541

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