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List of potential ND GOP Senate candidates narrows as CEO declines to run

Border States Electric CEO Tammy Miller

This story has been updated to include comment from Rick Berg.

BISMARCK—The list of potential Republican challengers to U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp narrowed Friday, Dec. 1, when Border States Electric CEO Tammy Miller said she would not run against the incumbent Democrat.

"Earlier this year, I was approached to consider a run for North Dakota's U.S. Senate seat in 2018," Miller said in a statement provided by a company spokesman. "After much consideration, I have decided to stay in my position as CEO and fulfill my commitments to the employee-owners and board at Border States. I appreciate the encouragement and insight of all who weighed in on this decision."

Miller has been with Border States since 1991, and she was named CEO in 2006. The Fargo-based company supplies electrical products to the construction, industrial and utility industries.

Miller's announcement came more than a week after Kathleen Neset, an oil field consultant who serves on the State Board of Higher Education, said she wouldn't challenge Heitkamp, according to Rob Port of SayAnythingBlog.com. State Treasurer Kelly Schmidt said Friday she had considered a run but decided against it a few months ago.

Heitkamp has one challenger thus far: state Sen. Tom Campbell of Grafton. But he may not be the last Republican to jump in the race.

U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., has said he won't make a decision about a potential run until after the congressional tax reform effort. State Rep. Rick Becker of Bismarck said Friday he's still weighing a run.

Rick Berg, a former congressman who narrowly lost to Heitkamp in 2012, didn’t rule out a run in October.

“My situation is the same,” he said Friday.

John Hageman

John Hageman covers North Dakota politics from the Forum News Service bureau in Bismarck. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Grand Forks Herald and Bemidji Pioneer.  

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