North Dakota Democrats are criticizing the state's Republican Congressman Rick Berg over claims he supported expanding Highway 2 from two lanes to four while a state legislator, as well as his decision not to have a congressional office in western North Dakota.

Berg, who is running for U.S. Senate, discussed the expanded highway between Minot and Williston and his new congressional office in Minot during a debate with Democrat Heidi Heitkamp earlier this week.

"Obviously, I was supportive of Highway 2 when it got passed," Berg said during the debate.

But state legislative records show Berg voted against a 1997 expansion of Highway 2, along with a 2008 tax package for highway financing.

The highway, which carries traffic from Williston, a city in the heart of the oil patch, eastward across the state and westward toward Montana, has been targeted for expansion to four lanes since the 1970s. The expansion between Minot and Williston was finalized in the last decade, as the oil industry began to boom in the western part of the state.

"You did not step up and help western North Dakota get prepared," Heitkamp said during the debate. "We are suffering that neglect today."

Berg also promoted his recent decision to open a congressional office in Minot, which is roughly two hours by car the oil fields, in order to help the western part of the state. Democrats have criticized that decision, saying they believe Berg does not know the state's geography. Berg is the sole congressman from North Dakota.

"If Rep. Berg can't tell Minot from Dickinson or Williston, he's clearly spent too much time voting the party line in Washington," state Democratic Party spokeswoman Alison Kelly said in a statement Friday. "It's no laughing matter for Rick Berg to think he can wait more than a year to put staff in Minot and that he's somehow serving the oil patch."

Democrats have sent Berg a map of the state with the section of Highway 2 between Minot and Williston highlighted. Niether Berg's campaign nor his congressional spokesmen were immediately available for comment.

The race between Berg and Heitkamp -- both of whom are vying succeed retiring Sen. Kent Conrad (D) -- has become one of the most competitive in the country, with the HuffPost Pollster summary showing Berg holding a four point lead. Several national groups have invested in the race with ads in support of both candidates.

Berg is not alone in not having an office in western North Dakota. Both senators -- Conrad and Republican John Hoeven -- have offices in Minot, Bismarck, Grand Forks and Fargo, but not in Williston or other western cities. Former Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D), who was unseated by Berg in 2010, only had offices in Fargo and Bismarck, according to an archived version of his 2010 congressional website.

Berg ranks below all but one of the at-large members of Congress in terms of state offices. Republicans Kristi Noem of South Dakota, Cynthia Loomis of Wyoming, Denny Rehberg of Montana and Don Young of Alaska have four offices open in their states. Though Berg's three offices do beat the two offices kept by Democrat John Carney of Delaware.

Also on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • Rudy Giuliani And The Price Of Milk

    While running for president in 2007, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani <a href="">told</a> a reporter at a Montgomery, Ala., supermarket that he estimates "a gallon of milk is probably about a $1.50, a loaf of bread about a $1.25, $1.30, last time I bought one." It must have been a few election cycles since his last trip: The grocery store's website listed milk for $3.38 and bread up to $3.49.

  • Dan Quayle And Single Mothers

    During George H.W. Bush's reelection campaign in 1992, Vice President Dan Quayle <a href=",388223" target="_hplink">scoffed</a> at the "Murphy Brown situation," referring to a television character who had a child out of wedlock. Quayle called the Brown story "totally unreal," adding, "A highly paid professional woman [with a baby] ... give me a break."

  • Martha Coakley And Shaking Hands

    In a display of aloofness that many political observers say led to her defeat by Republican Scott Brown, Democratic Senate candidate and Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley erred in <a href="" target="_hplink">brushing off</a> the idea of ramping up her campaigning. When asked whether she was being too apathetic, she referenced one of Brown's ads and fired back, "As opposed to standing outside Fenway Park? In the cold? Shaking hands?"

  • Spiro Agnew And Poor Neighborhoods

    Republican vice presidential candidate Spiro Agnew, branded as Richard Nixon's go-to guy on cities, <a href="" target="_hplink">vowed</a> in 1968 to avoid poor neighborhoods. "If you've seen one slum, you've seen them all," Agnew said.

  • Gerald Ford And Tamales

    While visiting the Alamo in 1976, President Gerald Ford <a href="" target="_hplink">bit</a> into a tamale through the husk, a faux pas later deemed the "Great Tamales Incident."

  • George H.W. Bush And Grocery Scanners

    President George H.W. Bush caught flak for <a href="" target="_hplink">appearing awed</a> by a supermarket check-out scanner while touring a grocers convention in 1992. It turned out the president was being shown a new bar code technology, and the convention worker who was alongside Bush later said it's "foolish to think the president doesn't know anything about grocery stores. He knew exactly what I was talking about."

  • George W. Bush And Gas Prices

    In 2008, President George W. Bush <a href="" target="_hplink">said</a> he had not heard predictions that gas prices could soon hit $4 a gallon. At the time, the national average was $3.29 a gallon.

  • John Kerry And Cheese Steak

    In 2003, Democratic presidential contender John Kerry <a href="" target="_hplink">ordered</a> Swiss cheese on a cheese steak while campaigning in South Philadelphia, straying from the traditional favorite topping, Cheez Whiz.

  • Michael Dukakis And The Tank

    Democratic presidential contender Michael Dukakis <a href="" target="_hplink">tried</a> to one-up Republican opponent George H.W. Bush on national defense by striking a pose in an M1 Abrams tank.

  • Mitt Romney And Wawa

    Mitt Romney has had his fair share of seemingly out-of-touch statements this election cycle, admitting he likes to "fire people" and <a href="" target="_hplink">expressing amazement</a> at the touchscreen ordering system at convenience store Wawa.

  • Barack Obama And The Private Sector

    President Barack Obama is not exempt from the "gotcha" moment. In June, he <a href="" target="_hplink">described</a> the private sector economy as "doing fine." The gaffe immediately elicited comparisons with his 2008 Republican opponent, John McCain, who said that the "fundamentals of the economy are strong" in the midst of a crippling financial crisis.