FARGO – North Dakota Democrats are gathering tonight at the Ramada Plaza & Suites as the returns come in, and it’s a subdued environment at this point.
Democratic incumbent Rep. Earl Pomeroy spoke with local media for about 10 minutes before leaving the room to have dinner with his family just before 8 p.m. It’s unknown when he’ll return to the venue.
Meanwhile, several dozen Democratic supporters have arrived at the banquet room and more continue to trickle in. Several legislative candidates also are on hand to watch the results come in.
Projection screens are displaying coverage from MSNBC and CNN, as the supporters converse at tables or fill their plates at the buffet.
Pomeroy’s statements with the media a short while ago were somewhat general but offered an evident undertone of his potential feelings about what tonight’s outcome might be.
“I’m confident that we ran the best campaign that could be put on the field,” he said. “We all know in the prairie, sometimes you’ve got the wind in your back, sometimes you’ve got it in your face. Obviously, this is going to be a challenging election year – not just here in North Dakota, but all across the country – and under that circumstance, all you can do is try as hard as you can.”
“I have worked real hard on so many issues relative to this state,” Pomeroy continued. “The work isn’t done and I’ve felt very, very strongly about continuing that work and put my whole heart into this race, but the race is now done. It’s in the voters hands, they’ll make their judgment and we’ll go on from there.”
When asked how it would effect Congress if North Dakota voters didn’t pull through for Pomeroy tonight, the congressman replied:
“I think there’s a lot of work that I’d sure like to do on behalf of our state going forward,” he said. “If voters decide this is Rick Berg’s chance, so be it – I wish him well, but I’m going to go on and try to find something purposeful to do. There’s so many interesting things to do with one’s career.”
With just 9 precincts reporting in early and unofficial returns, Pomeroy had a sizable lead over Republican challenger Rick Berg, 52 percent to 47 percent. However, with 505 precincts statewide, it will be a while before there’s a conclusive answer. Both candidates hold strongholds in different parts of the state, which could influence the end result.
Berg is rallying with the Republicans at the Holiday Inn, just a few blocks away. I’ll have an update from that rally shortly.