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Associated Press, Published January 07 2010

Former ND AG Heidi Heitkamp interested in Senate race, GOP's Clark staying put

BISMARCK — The brother of former Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp says she is interested in running for North Dakota's open U.S. Senate seat.

Heitkamp's interest sets up a possible rematch with Republican Gov. John Hoeven. Hoeven is expected to get into the race to succeed Sen. Byron Dorgan.

Hoeven defeated Heitkamp in 2000 in his first race for governor. He got 55 percent of the vote.

Heitkamp's brother Joel is a talk show host on Fargo's KFGO Radio. On his show Thursday he said his sister was interested in the Senate race. Heidi Heitkamp has not responded to requests for comment.

In an interview, Joel Heitkamp said he would be interested in the race himself. But he wants to wait to see what his sister decides.

On the other side of the aisle, North Dakota Republican utility regulator Tony Clark - who's been mentioned as a possible candidate for Congress - says he won't be running for another job this year.

Tony Clark is the senior member of the state Public Service Commission, the three-member commission regulating North Dakota's energy industry.

Clark says he thinks it's best for him to stay on the commission, given the recent rapid pace of energy development.

The 38-year-old Clark was elected to the PSC in 2000.

Since Dorgan announced he wouldn't seek re-election, there has been speculation that Clark might run for the U.S. Senate or House. Clark says he's backing Hoeven as the Republican Senate candidate.

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