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Berg's campaign raises nearly $380,000

Delegates at the convention for their support for Rick Berg as he walks through the convention floor Saturday. Herald photo by Eric Hylden

FARGO

Republican U.S. House candidate and Fargo legislator Rick Berg raised nearly $383,000 during the first quarter of 2010 - a feat the North Dakota GOP director calls "one of the most successful first-period fundraising efforts by a congressional challenger in North Dakota history."

But while his campaign touts it as an "outstanding" start, Berg is still a long way from matching Democratic incumbent Earl Pomeroy, who entered 2010 with more than $1.3 million in his campaign war chest.

First-quarter contributions to Pomeroy's campaign were not available Monday.

According to Berg's campaign, about 86 percent - or $330,000 - of the funds raised were donated in the 10 days after the state GOP convention, when delegates voted Berg as the party's endorsed candidate.

"What a fantastic start," Berg said in a campaign statement. "I am gratified by the outpouring of support we have received in the early days of this campaign."

The nearly $383,000 raised does not include $100,000 Berg personally loaned his campaign. After costs paid, Berg has nearly $323,800 in cash on hand.

Federal Election Commission records since 1996 - the earliest records available online for North Dakota congressional races - back up state GOP Director Adam Jones' claim of Berg's success as a House challenger.

Prior to Berg, the most a Republican challenger had previously raised during a first quarter was Duane Sand in 2008. He raised nearly $334,000 during the first quarter of his second bid for House, according to FEC records.

Berg attributed his fundraising results to North Dakotans' frustrations with the all-Democratic congressional delegation's votes, specifically on the controversial health care reform legislation.

Pomeroy's campaign manager Dianne Mondry said staff members are still calculating first-quarter contributions.

"We should have a number in the next several days," she said. "But what we can say is that we'll have the best quarter we've had this (2009-10 campaign) cycle."

In the last quarter of 2009, Pomeroy received $338,270 in campaign contributions, according to FEC records.

He ended the year with more than $1.3 million in cash on hand - an amount Pomeroy has accumulated over nine congressional campaigns, beginning with 1992.

Meanwhile, national Republicans, like Berg's campaign staff, expressed enthusiasm over Berg's first-quarter results.

"With his overwhelming win at the convention and his impressive ability to raise funds, Berg is well on his way to being the next congressman from North Dakota," National Republican Campaign Committee spokesman Tom Erickson said.

The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead and the Herald are Forum Communications Co. newspapers.

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