GOP Rep. Changes Mind, Will Run For Senate Against Heitkamp

Bill Clark  CQ-Roll Call Group

Bill Clark CQ-Roll Call Group

Rep. Kevin Cramer is preparing to announce his entry into North Dakota's Senate race, granting Republicans' wish for a top candidate to take on Democratic Sen.

Republican state Sen. Tom Campbell of Grafton has been campaigning for U.S. Senate since previous year. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., for her job in 2018. "That's why today I'm proud to endorse my friend Kevin Cramer in his bid to unseat Sena".

Cramer's apparent reversal came only about one month after he confirmed that he would not run and would instead run for re-election in the House.

Cramer told The Associated Press he would make a decision by the weekend, adding "I don't want to let this linger".

Cramer is a staunch advocate of President Donald Trump.

With Democrats fighting hard to seize control of the House this fall, Republicans are determined to hold onto their narrow majority in the Senate, now at 51-49. He said Cramer was receiving a lot of pressure to do so, along with encouragement from the White House.

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Cramer said if he does run for Senate it would be an "opportunity for North Dakota to contribute to the national Trump agenda".

Cramer, 56, is a former state Republican director and chairman.

However, Cramer does bring some baggage to the North Dakota race. Armstrong says that if Cramer runs, he would have far better name recognition than state Sen.

Cramer also criticized Democratic women who wore white to Trump's first joint address to Congress previous year, in honor of suffragettes, saying that they were "poorly dressed" and that they looked "silly".

"We are a red state with a blue senator - people are going to get involved", he said. Nearly three-quarters of the more than $1 million he has raised has come from himself, Federal Election Commission filings show.

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