- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 12, 2012

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Freshman Republican Congressman Rick Berg has defeated Bismarck businessman Duane Sand in North Dakota U.S. Senate primary.

Berg now moves on to face Democrat Heidi Heitkamp in November for the open seat. Heitkamp had no opposition in Tuesday’s Democratic primary.

Republicans view a Berg victory as essential to the party’s effort to take control of the Senate. Republicans now hold 47 seats and need 51 for a majority.

Berg and Heitkamp are competing to succeed incumbent Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad. Conrad is not seeking re-election after serving 26 years in the Senate.

With Tuesday’s defeat, Sand has now lost four races for Congress.