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North Dakota Republican announces he's running for Heitkamp's seat

Republican state Senator Tom Campbell, seen here in a campaign ad announcing his bid for the U.S. Senate in 2018. Via YouTube

GRAFTON, N.D. – Tom Campbell, a farmer and Republican state senator, will run for the seat held by U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D.

Campbell announced his decision Wednesday, Aug. 16, becoming the first candidate of either party to declare for the seat Heitkamp won in 2012. Campbell, who had earlier mulled a run for governor, also launched a statewide advertising campaign.

Heitkamp, North Dakota’s lone Democrat elected to statewide office, has been aggressively raising money for the race, and it was time for a Republican to challenge her, Campbell said in a phone interview.

“It’s time, pushing the end of August,” he said. “I think we need to catch up and jump in.”

Heitkamp has not yet announced her intentions, but has said she will decide before Labor Day.

Campbell’s campaign released a bio, stressing his farm roots. He started a custom-combining business at the age of 16, traveling over 1,000 miles to Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska to harvest wheat.

Two years later, Campbell started his first potato farm. Campbell bills himself as pro-life and pro-gun, and said he wants to “partner” with President Donald Trump.

“North Dakota has been a big supporter of Trump, and I’ve been supporting Trump’s agenda,” Campbell said.

If elected, he said tax reform would top his list of priorities. He said he wants to replace Obamacare, which he said is unaffordable for many.