Citing multiple Republican sources, Politico says the freshman House member could make his announcement on Wednesday, but “the exact day remains fluid.”
Forum Communications reporter Teri Finneman also confirmed Berg’s intentions by talking with a source close to him today.
Berg has been in Congress barely four months, since winning the statewide seat in November when he ousted longtime Democratic incumbent Earl Pomeroy. During recent town hall meetings across the state, Berg touted his opposition to health care reform and his efforts to support less federal spending and a balanced budget.
Launching a U.S. Senate campaign would mean North Dakota Republicans will have to decide a contested race for the party nomination next year. Public Service Commissioner Brian Kalk announced his candidacy in the race late last month and has said he’s in it to win it, regardless if Berg runs.
Berg acknowledged several weeks ago that he was considering a run for the Senate, and he already has the support of many of his former colleagues in the state Legislature, as well as numerous statewide officials. However, Berg doesn’t have the praise of everyone. The influential Club for Growth prematurely opposed a Berg Senate bid last month, criticizing the Republican as not fiscally conservative enough.
Politico’s Dave Cantanese calls Berg “the clear frontrunner for both the nomination and the general election in a state where Democrats are bracing for the loss of all three members of the federal delegation in a two-year period.”
Politico reports efforts are already underway to begin Berg’s Senate campaign operations. “Jonathan Casper, who served as Berg’s deputy campaign manager in the 2010 effort that unseated Rep. Earl Pomeroy, has taken leave from his current role as legislative aide to return to the state to make political preparations, according to the source,” Catanese reported.
No Democrat has yet voiced serious interest in the race. However, state lawmakers today are encouraging a candidacy from Pam Gulleson, a former legislator and the state director for former Sen. Byron Dorgan.