Dems attack Rep. Berg with stalled farm bill in new ads

The ads feature North Dakotans painting Berg as out of touch on North Dakota issues like the farm bill and contrasting Democrat Heidi Heitkamp as more in tune with the rural state.

"In North Dakota, we see the problem every day and we know what Rick Berg has been up to," says Judi Hintz of Tappen, N.D., in one ad.

"Just look at Rick Berg -- he's not thinking about my farm, or my family," says Bismarck resident Les Franklund in the other.

They're similar to spots released by the Democratic candidate that feature residents touting Heitkamp's willingness to work for average North Dakotans.

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And the focus on the farm bill is hardly new. As Congress has repeatedly failed to reauthorize the bill, which expires on Sept. 30 and funds subsidies and aid to farmers. The issue has become a potent political talking point for Democrats running in states in which agriculture makes up a large portion of the state's economy.

North Dakota is one such state. And with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) saying just last week that the lower chamber has no plans to deal with the farm bill until after the November elections, Heitkamp and the DSCC will have ample fodder on this issue with which to attack Berg.

However, Berg has made repeated attempts at defense on the issue, releasing a statement last week accusing the Republican leadership of handling "this entire Farm Bill situation poorly since it should have happened months ago."

"After very frank and pointed conversations with Leadership and demonstrations of strength from our bipartisan coalition over the past several weeks, the pressure to act on a long-term Farm Bill is growing. On the heels of this announcement, our bipartisan coalition will continue to keep up the pressure to demand that Leadership do the right thing and bring the Farm Bill to the floor—we won’t stop until this happens," Berg said in the statement.

The ads released on Tuesday by the DSCC make no mention of Berg's proclaimed break with Republican leadership on the issue.

Instead, the North Dakotans featured in the ads tout Heitkamp's ability to "get past the politics and get things done" and call her a "good person" who's "caring" and "compassionate."

The farm bill is one issue Democrats hope will shift the tight North Dakota Senate race in their favor. Though Republicans believe it's a probable pickup for the party this fall, Heitkamp has kept Berg's lead to single digits in most polls thus far, even as Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney posts a double-digit lead over President Obama in the state.