Elections analyst: Berg-Pomeroy race for U.S. House is a tossup

May 17, 2010

The race between Earl Pomeroy and Rick Berg to serve as North Dakota’s lone member of the U.S. House of Representatives is now a tossup, according to an elections analyst with a Washington, D.C., newspaper.

CQ-Roll Call’s Bob Benenson wrote Saturday that Pomeroy, who has held the office since 1992, has been helped in past re-election efforts by his “easy-going manner” and “image as a fiscal conservative.”

But Benenson said he expects Pomeroy will face a “tough road” this fall as he campaigns for one of the toughest re-election bids of his career. He previously wrote that the state’s U.S. House race was leaning Democratic, but has now moved it to the “tossup” category.

Benenson said it could be as close as the 2002 election, when Pomeroy narrowly defeated Republican challenger Rick Clayburgh and held onto the office with 52 percent of the vote.

“The GOP, after putting up low-profile challengers in his past three elections, this year is rallying behind state Rep. Rick Berg, who surged ahead of the nine-term incumbent in some early polls,” Benenson wrote.

According to Rasmussen Reports, an April 20 telephone survey of 500 likely North Dakota voters showed Berg leading Pomeroy 49 percent to 45 percent. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percent.

“Pomeroy also will have to keep Berg from latching onto the coattails of popular Gov. John Hoeven, the highly popular Republican governor who is overwhelmingly favored to win the Senate seat that Democrat Byron L. Dorgan has left open to retire,” Benenson added.

Hoeven is challenging Democratic-NPL candidate Tracy Potter in the Senate race.

Tom Erickson, a National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman, issued a statement Monday that said political experts are starting to realize the challenge that Pomeroy faces this year after his vote for health care reform.

“The pundits, like Earl Pomeroy, are starting to see the writing on the wall: next year, North Dakotans will be represented by a new voice in Washington,” Erickson wrote.

Dems plan ‘Meet the Candidates’

Grand Forks County Democrats will host a “Meet the Candidates” fundraiser next month, the organization’s chairman announced Monday.

The county’s Democratic-NPL legislative candidates will be at the event and Democratic statewide candidates have been invited. The fundraiser, held each election year, serves as a kickoff event for legislative campaigns.

It begins at 5:30 p.m. June 2 at King’s Walk Golf Course. The money raised during the event will help Grand Forks County Democrats to open a local office, hire staff members and provide support to candidates.


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