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Published July 24 2012

Heitkamp, Berg raise $6.2M so far in US Senate contest

FARGO – North Dakota’s U.S. Senate candidates have raised nearly $6.2 million – and spent more than $3.1 million – in pursuit of victory in November.

The latest financial figures for Democrat Heidi Heitkamp and Republican Rep. Rick Berg come as they enter the most intensive months of the campaign, leading up to Election Day on Nov. 6.

Second-quarter finance reports made available this past week from the Federal Election Commission show Berg continues to hold a significant financial edge over Heitkamp, although both had strong fundraising in recent months.

Between April 1 and June 30, Berg collected more than $1.2 million in campaign donations and spent $628,000. He reported $100,000 in campaign debt, a personal loan rolled over from his House campaign two years ago.

As of July 1, Berg had $2.2 million in available cash, more than three times the amount Heitkamp had in her campaign war chest by that date. The gap comes in part from Heitkamp ramping up her expenses, spending more than she took in during the second quarter.

In the same three-month period ending June 30, Heitkamp brought in $977,000 while spending nearly $1.1 million, making the second quarter her costliest so far.

In comparison, Berg’s most expensive quarter came during the first three months of 2012, when the competition between him and Heitkamp was just beginning to heat up. He spent $744,000 between January and April, records show.

Entering July, Heitkamp had $680,000 in cash on hand and no reported debt.

Overall, Berg has raised nearly double the amount Heitkamp has. Notably, though, he began his Senate campaign several months before her and has the advantage of being a sitting congressman with funds in the bank.

Since the start of Berg’s campaign last May, he’s raised nearly $4.1 million. Heitkamp – who launched her bid in November – has raised $2.1 million.

Both Heitkamp and Berg are getting their income from a mix of sources: about 62 percent from individual donations, about 25 percent from special-interest groups and the rest from other sources, like joint fundraising committees.

Joint fundraising committees allow two or more candidates to team up and raise funds together, while splitting the receipts.

It’s a method Heitkamp has used to earn 13 percent of her campaign income to date. FEC records show Heitkamp has received $276,500 in transfers from these joint committees, including nearly $155,000 in the second quarter alone.

Since this spring, Heitkamp has participated in multiple joint fundraisers with other female Democratic Senate hopefuls in locations such as New York City, Boston and Los Angeles.

Similarly, Berg has received 9 percent – or $370,800 – of his campaign income from joint-fundraising efforts. He received $178,600 in those contributions during the second quarter.

Like Heitkamp, Berg’s joint fundraising comes from events that benefit him and other Republican Senate candidates.

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