The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has bought television air time in North Dakota to bolster former state Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp, a Democratic source confirmed this afternoon.
The DSCC has placed a buy worth about $76,000 that was set to run beginning Wednesday of this week through next Friday.
The DSCC's spot becomes the first independent expenditure spot of the campaign from a national party committee and was placed specifically to answer an ad being run by Crossroads GPS, a Republican-aligned nonprofit affiliated with the American Crossroads super PAC.
Democrats have high hopes for Heitkamp, although Rep. Rick Berg (R) remains favored in the contest to succeed retiring Sen. Kent Conrad (D). Roll Call rates this contest as Leans Republican. However, a poll conducted for the North Dakota Democratic party had Heitkamp up 5 points over Berg.
In the DFM Research survey of 478 likely voters conducted April 18-26, Heitkamp led Berg 49 percent to 44 percent. The margin of error was 4.5 points. In the same poll, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney led President Barack Obama 51 percent to 32 percent.
The poll's sample broke down as follows: male 48 percent; female 52 percent; Democrat 29 percent; independent 29 percent; Republican 42 percent; 18 to 44 years old, 47 percent; 45 to 64 years old, 31 percent; 65 and older, 22 percent.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee dismissed the survey.
"The fact that Washington Democrats are worried enough to make North Dakota the site of their first statewide buy should tell everyone all they need to know about how credible this poll is. We agree with the DSCC that they are right to be very worried about Heidi's chances in a state where her friend President Obama's approvals are in the 30s," NRSC spokesman Brian Walsh said.