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Cramer Rethinking Decision to Skip North Dakota Senate Race

Image: Cramer Rethinking Decision to Skip North Dakota Senate Race

Wednesday, 14 February 2018 08:59 AM

Republican Kevin Cramer is reconsidering his decision to skip North Dakota's U.S. Senate race under intense pressure from his party to challenge Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp.

Cramer told KFGO-AM radio station in Fargo late Tuesday that he expects to make a decision soon.

Cramer said last month he wouldn't make a Senate run, despite a personal appeal from President Donald Trump. He cited family considerations and his seniority in the House.

Former state Republican Party Chairman Gary Emineth dropped out of the Senate race Tuesday because he said he expected Cramer to enter the race. Emineth said he had talked several times with Cramer in the past week.

"He's getting a lot of pressure from Washington," said Emineth, who is a close friend of Cramer's and ran his congressional campaign in 2012.

Cramer did not respond to messages from The Associated Press.

Cramer was long regarded as the Republican best situated to knock off Heitkamp, a gifted politician who narrowly won her first term in 2012 in a heavily conservative state. Emineth's departure left Tom Campbell, a second-term state senator who trails Heitkamp badly in name recognition and money, as the only Republican in the race.

Campbell has dug deep into his own pocket in recent months to buy TV ads to raise his profile statewide. Almost three-quarters of the more than $1 million he has raised has come from himself, Federal Election Commission filings show.

Heitkamp has raised about $7.7 million and has about $4.4 million cash on hand.

Heitkamp is among 10 Democrats in states Trump carried who are up for re-election this year. The former state attorney general and gas company executive opposed Trump on some issues but sided with him on others, especially on coal and oil questions important to North Dakota.

State Sen. Kelly Armstrong, who heads North Dakota's Republican Party, said Cramer is "really, really torn over this, but I think there is call from the White House for a call to service for his country and the state."

Cramer, 56, is a former state Republican director and chairman. He ran twice for the U.S. House in the 1990s, losing to incumbent Democrat Earl Pomeroy in 1996 and 1998, before winning it in 2012.

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Republican Kevin Cramer is reconsidering his decision to skip North Dakota's U.S. Senate race under intense pressure from his party to challenge Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp.
cramer, north dakota, senate
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2018-59-14
Wednesday, 14 February 2018 08:59 AM
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