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2010 United States Senate election in North Dakota

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

2010 United States Senate election in North Dakota

← 2004 November 2, 2010 2016 →
John Hoeven, Official Senate Portrait, 112th Congress.jpg
Tracy Potter - 20100704 (cropped).jpg
Nominee John Hoeven Tracy Potter
Party Republican Democratic-NPL
Popular vote 181,689 52,955
Percentage 76.1% 22.2%

North Dakota R Sweep.svg
County results
Hoeven:      50–60%      60–70%      70–80%      80–90%      >90%

U.S. senator before election

Byron Dorgan

Elected U.S. Senator

John Hoeven

The 2010 United States Senate election in North Dakota took place on November 2, 2010, alongside other elections to the United States Senate in other states as well as elections to the United States House of Representatives and various state and local elections. Incumbent Democratic-NPL U.S. senator Byron Dorgan announced in January 2010 that he would not seek reelection, leading to the first open seat election since 1992. Republican governor John Hoeven won the seat in a landslide, becoming North Dakota's first Republican senator since 1987.


Incumbent Byron Dorgan never had a difficult time getting elected, as he obtained 59%, 63%, and 68% in his three senate election bids, respectively. However, in December 2009, Rasmussen Reports conducted a hypothetical matchup of Governor John Hoeven against the incumbent. Hoeven led by a large margin, 58% to Dorgan's 36%. Polls showed that 61% of the state still had a favorable view of Dorgan, and if pitted against state senator Duane Sand, the incumbent led 52% to 37%.[1]

Several prominent members of the North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party expressed an interest in the U.S. Senate race once Senator Dorgan announced that he would not run again. Among those people were Joel Heitkamp, a former North Dakota state senator and current radio talk show host of News and Views on KFGO Radio in Fargo. His sister, former North Dakota attorney general Heidi Heitkamp of Bismarck, also considered running, but declined to enter the race as well.

Others who had indicated an interest in the race were businesswoman Kristin Hedger and national progressive talk show host Ed Schultz. Hedger was the Democratic candidate for North Dakota secretary of state in the 2006 general election, which she lost to the incumbent, Republican Alvin Jaeger.

While flattered to have been asked, Schultz said he had to decline in that he would have been forced to give up his nightly television program on MSNBC The Ed Show as well as his daily progressive national radio show, The Ed Schultz Show, in order to run.

Also, Federal Communications Commission regulations decree that equal and free air time would have had to be given to whomever Schultz's opponents would have been in the election in order to allow them to respond to anything that Schultz would have said about them on his programs.

Democratic-NPL primary



Democratic-NPL primary results[3]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic-NPL Tracy Potter 26,211 99.6%
Democratic-NPL Write-in 95 0.4%
Total votes 26,306 100.0%

Republican primary



Republican primary results[3]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican John Hoeven 64,978 99.8%
Republican Timothy Beattie 130 0.2%
Total votes 65,108 100.0%

Libertarian primary


  • Keith Hanson[5]


Libertarian primary results[3]
Party Candidate Votes %
Libertarian Keith Hanson 532 97.6%
Libertarian Write-in 13 2.4%
Total votes 545 100.0%

General election



Hoeven was challenged in the race by North Dakota state senator Tracy Potter of Bismarck. Potter received the endorsement of the North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party at its state convention on March 27, 2010. Governor Hoeven and Senator Potter advanced to the November 2, 2010 general election following balloting in North Dakota's primary election, which was held on June 8, 2010. Neither candidate faced any significant opposition in the primary election.

Aggregate polling indicated that Hoeven had large leads against Potter. Hoeven was enormously popular and enjoyed instant name recognition throughout the state of North Dakota. Hoeven was elected to an unprecedented third consecutive four-year term as governor in November 2008. Hoeven's election in 2010 to the U.S. Senate appeared to be all but a sure thing even before the campaign officially started. The immensely popular Hoeven enjoyed double-digit leads in opinion polling relative to the U.S. Senate race since earlier this year.[6][7]

John Hoeven was sworn into the U.S. Senate on January 3, 2011.


Source Ranking As of
Cook Political Report[8] Safe R (flip) October 26, 2010
Rothenberg[9] Safe R (flip) October 22, 2010
RealClearPolitics[10] Safe R (flip) October 26, 2010
Sabato's Crystal Ball[11] Safe R (flip) October 21, 2010
CQ Politics[12] Safe R (flip) October 26, 2010


Poll source Date(s)
of error
Hoeven (R)
Potter (D)
Other Undecided
Rasmussen Reports (report) February 9–10, 2010 500 ± 4.5% 71% 17% 4% 8%
Rasmussen Reports (report) March 23, 2010 500 ± 4.5% 68% 25% 2% 5%
Rasmussen Reports (report) April 20, 2010 500 ± 4.5% 69% 24% 2% 5%
Rasmussen Reports (report) May 18–19, 2010 500 ± 4.5% 72% 23% 2% 3%
Rasmussen Reports (report) June 15–16, 2010 500 ± 4.5% 73% 19% 2% 6%
Rasmussen Reports (report) July 21, 2010 500 ± 4.5% 69% 22% 2% 7%
Rasmussen Reports (report) August 10, 2010 500 ± 4.5% 69% 25% 1% 5%
Rasmussen Reports (report) September 20–21, 2010 500 ± 4.5% 68% 25% 2% 5%
Rasmussen Reports (report) October 20, 2010 500 ± 4.5% 72% 25% 0% 3%


Candidate (party) Receipts Disbursements Cash on hand Debt
John Hoeven (R) $3,419,202 $2,246,827 $1,172,375 $100,000
Tracy Potter (D) $117,739 $82,505 $35,332 $13,601
Source: Federal Election Commission[13]


General election results[14]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican John Hoeven 181,689 76.08% +44.36%
Democratic-NPL Tracy Potter 52,955 22.17% -46.11%
Libertarian Keith Hanson 3,890 1.63% N/A
Majority 128,734 53.91%
Turnout 238,534 100.00%
Republican gain from Democratic-NPL Swing

The results were a complete reversal from 2004, with every single county flipping from Democratic to Republican.


  1. ^ "2010 North Dakota Senate: Hoeven 58%, Dorgan 36% - Rasmussen Reports". Retrieved August 21, 2010.
  2. ^ "Potter seeks center in Senate race". February 5, 2010. Retrieved June 14, 2010.
  3. ^ a b c "North Dakota Secretary of State". ND Secretary of State. Retrieved June 9, 2010.
  4. ^ "Hoeven ends suspense, enters Senate race". January 11, 2010. Retrieved June 14, 2010.
  5. ^ Wetzel, Dale. "Hoeven raises $1.37M in donations for N.D. Senate campaign". Grand Forks Herald. Associated Press.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ Rudin, Ken (November 11, 2009). "Early Look At 2010 Senate Races: GOP Shows Improvement Since June". NPR. Retrieved June 14, 2010.
  7. ^ Silver, Nate (March 24, 2010). "Politics Done Right: Senate Forecast Update, 3/24". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved June 14, 2010.
  8. ^ "Senate". Cook Political Report. Retrieved October 26, 2010.
  9. ^ "Senate Ratings". Rothenberg Political Report. Retrieved October 26, 2010.
  10. ^ "Battle for the Senate". RealClearPolitics. Retrieved October 26, 2010.
  11. ^ "2010 Senate Ratings". Sabato's Crystal Ball. Retrieved October 26, 2010.
  12. ^ "Race Ratings Chart: Senate". CQ Politics. Archived from the original on October 28, 2010. Retrieved October 26, 2010.
  13. ^ "2010 House and Senate Campaign Finance for North Dakota". Retrieved June 7, 2010.[permanent dead link]
  14. ^ "Official Results General Election". North Dakota Secretary of State. November 2, 2010. Retrieved February 21, 2018.

External links

Official campaign websites (Archived)
This page was last edited on 15 September 2020, at 20:53
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