Hoeven: 50–60% 60–70% 70–80% 80–90% >90%
|Elections in North Dakota|
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. Hoeven's 54 percentage point margin of victory represented a massive 90 percentage point swing towards the GOP from the previous election for this seat.
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%.
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 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.
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.
John Hoeven was sworn into the U.S. Senate on January 3, 2011.
|Cook Political Report||Safe R (flip)||October 26, 2010|
|Rothenberg||Safe R (flip)||October 22, 2010|
|RealClearPolitics||Safe R (flip)||October 26, 2010|
|Sabato's Crystal Ball||Safe R (flip)||October 21, 2010|
|CQ Politics||Safe R (flip)||October 26, 2010|
|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|
|Republican gain from Democratic-NPL|
The results were a complete reversal from 2004, with every single county flipping from Democrat to Republican, including Sioux County, home of the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.