UPDATED: Heitkamp releases first ad of U.S. Senate campaign

Heidi Heitkamp

FARGO – Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Heidi Heitkamp unveiled her first campaign ad this morning, joining her competitors, Republicans Duane Sand and Rep. Rick Berg, who’ve been on the air since February.

Heitkamp’s 30-second ad offers a personal pitch from the Mantador, N.D., native – showcasing her rural roots and her seven siblings.

With a subtle reference to Berg’s own campaign stump speeches, Heitkamp concludes her ad by saying, “Washington can learn from places like North Dakota, and they’ll get to hear that – from me.”

Heitkamp explained to supporters of her Facebook page, “This is an intro spot and you bet we will talk about our vision, my opponent’s record and the priorities that ND wants us to focus on in Congress.”

Heitkamp’s spokesman Brandon Lorenz said Heitkamp’s ad also debuted statewide on North Dakota TV stations today.

He did not answer whether the ad’s launch today – the same day North Dakota Republicans convene their state convention in Bismarck -was by strategic design.

“While Rep. Berg celebrates his vote to side with his party leaders and increase Medicare premiums by $6,000, Heidi is showing the state her roots in small town North Dakota, and her willingness to put party politics aside to bring some North Dakota common sense to Washington D.C.,” Lorenz said.

However, North Dakota Republican Party spokesman Matt Becker said it’s hard to believe Heitkamp’s launch date is pure coincidence.

“We’ve had a lot of good things going on in the Republican Party right now and she’s concerned,” Becker said. “She’s feeling a little shaky right now, because she can’t figure out where to position herself, and North Dakotans don’t like that. They want authenticity.”

Since Sand is bypassing the convention, Berg is all-but guaranteed the GOP’s endorsement in the U.S. Senate race this weekend. Sand and Berg will face off in the June primary.

Published: 9:56 a.m. Updated: 1:25 p.m.