New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) is under attack from North Dakota Democrats after criticizing talk show host Joel Heitkamp, the brother of Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Heidi Heitkamp, during a rally Saturday in Fargo.

Christie was campaigning on behalf of Rep. Rick Berg (R-N.D.), who is challenging Heidi Heitkamp for the state's open Senate seat. Christie was told that Joel Heitkamp, a former state senator, had said negative things about him on his statewide political talk show.

“First of all, Joel, if you’re watching, I don’t give a damn what you think of me," the Fargo Forum reported Christie as saying.

Christie's comments drew quick criticism from Joel Heitkamp, who told the Associated Press he wasn't surprised that Christie had targeted him.

"I don't know if he's been going to Dale Carnegie classes, but after that flop at the Republican convention, I'm sure he has been working on his speeches," Heitkamp said. "What a better way to recover from that than to go after the No. 1 talk show host in the region."

Heidi Heitkamp's campaign sent out a statement Saturday criticizing Christie for what it described as a "personal attack" on her family.

"Rep. Berg is looking to change the direction of his campaign and recruited a Governor who came into North Dakota and attacked the Heitkamp family because he can't defend Rep. Berg's record of voting the party line to cut $180 billion from farm programs and allowing the Farm Bill to expire," Heitkamp campaign manager Tessa Gould said in a statement.

Heitkamp and Berg have been locked in one of the most competitive Senate races nationally, with polls showing the Democrat opening a narrow lead in recent weeks.

Berg has been backed by American Crossroads, Karl Rove's super PAC, while the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has aired several ads on Heitkamp's behalf.

The criticism of Christie's appearance in North Dakota comes as New Jersey Democrats have been attacking the governor for his out-of-state travel on behalf of Republican candidates across the country, saying he is setting himself up for a 2016 presidential campaign.

New Jersey Republicans have defended Christie's travel, with Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno telling The Huffington Post that he has helped recruit new business to the state. State Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr. called the criticism "absurd" and said state Democrats have been ignoring their jobs.

Also on HuffPost:

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  • "It's Not My Time" (3 Doors Down)

    <strong><a href="" target="_hplink">(Oct. 4, 2011) --</a></strong> Christie announced that he will not run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, vowing that "now is not my time." He quipped to New Jersey residents "whether you like it or not, you're stuck with me."

  • "Need You Now" (Lady Antebellum)

    <a href="" target="_hplink"><strong>LEBANON, N.H. (Oct. 11, 2011) --</strong></a> After dismissing calls to run for president himself, Christie endorsed Romney, telling the GOP that he is the candidate we need now.

  • "How Do I Live" (LeAnn Rimes)

    <strong><a href="" target="_hplink">WEST NEW YORK, N.J. (Dec. 7, 2011) --</a></strong> At a local town hall, Christie did not take kindly to a <a href="" target="_hplink">constituent's question</a> about how his administration conducts these types of meetings. He showed the individual little mercy, going "if I plant questions, why the hell did I call on you?"

  • "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" (Elton John)

    <strong><a href="" target="_hplink">(Dec. 8, 2011) --</a></strong> Occupy Wall Street protesters interrupted Christie during an appearance in Iowa, making him a target of the movement's "mic check" trend.

  • "Shut Up" (The Black Eyed Peas)

    <strong><a href="" target="_hplink">(Feb. 21, 2012) --</a></strong> In an interview with CNN's Piers Morgan, Christie had some choice words for Warren Buffett, surrounding the billionaire investor's desire to be taxed at a higher rate. "Just write a check and shut up," he remarked.

  • "American Idiot" (Green Day)

    <strong><a href="" target="_hplink">(March 9, 2012) --</a></strong> Christie argued with a former Navy SEAL over the New Jersey's plans to reconfigure public universities. The result? Some fire from the governor's tongue, as he called the veteran an "idiot."

  • "Call Me Maybe" (Carly Rae Jepsen)

    <strong><a href="" target="_hplink">(April 13, 2012) --</a></strong> Throughout Mitt Romney's run for the White House, Christie made it known that he was open to a vice presidential nod (should Romney ask him).

  • "Rocky Ground" (Bruce Springsteen)

    <strong><a href="" target="_hplink">(April 19, 2012) --</a></strong> Christie vehemently denied reports that he was sleeping at a Bruce Springsteen concert in New York City. <em><strong>

  • "I Don't Really Care" (Waka Flocka Flame)

    <a href="" target="_hplink">(April 30, 2012) --</a> Christie responded to jokes comedian Jimmy Kimmel made about his weight at the 2012 White House Correspondents Dinner, throwing Sofia Vergara into the mix. "I figured I was in the zone of danger," he said.

  • "Ready Or Not" (The Fugees)

    <strong><a href="" target="_hplink">(Aug. 14, 2012) --</a></strong> After entertaining the idea of running for president and making Mitt Romney's short list of VP candidates, Christie was named the keynote speaker at the 2012 Republican National Convention. "I'll try to tell some very direct and hard truths to people in the country about the trouble that we're in and the fact that fixing those problems is not going to be easy for any of them," he told <em>USA Today</em>.