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Stenehjem to announce for governor next week

North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem in 2012. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

BISMARCK – North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said Tuesday he will officially announce his candidacy for governor during stops across the state next week, becoming the second Republican to enter the race.

Stenehjem expressed interest in a run shortly after Gov. Jack Dalrymple announced in August he wouldn’t seek a second term in November 2016. Stenehjem’s intentions became clearer when he formed a committee last month to accept unsolicited campaign contributions.

Stenehjem will kick off his gubernatorial bid during stops Tuesday in Grand Forks, Fargo and Bismarck, Wednesday in Minot and Dickinson and Nov. 30 in his hometown of Williston.

He’ll face at least one challenger for the Republican nomination in April, in state Rep. Rick Becker of Bismarck. State Treasurer Kelly Schmidt and Fargo businessman Doug Burgum also are considering a run, with Schmidt expected to announce soon and Burgum giving a January time frame for his decision.

Former state Agriculture Commissioner Sarah Vogel is mulling a run on the Democratic ticket.

Stenehjem served as a state lawmaker for 24 years before being elected attorney general in 2000. He’s been re-elected four times since then.

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