Published March 03 2010
UPDATED: Heitkamp says she won't run for U.S. Senate seatUPDATED 10:50 a.m.
Former North Dakota Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp said this morning she won’t seek the Democratic-NPL Party nomination for U.S. Senate.
Democrats have anxiously been waiting for Heitkamp’s decision since early January when she said she was considering a bid, following Sen. Byron Dorgan’s retirement announcement.
Heitkamp has offered little insight into her intentions beyond her initial media statement, but broke her silence this morning.
“I have decided I will not be a candidate,” Heidi Heitkamp said in a statement released to North Dakota media this morning. "The deciding factor for me is entirely personal. My life, my family and my friends are here in North Dakota. In the final analysis, I simply could not compete for a job that would require me to spend so much time in Washington, away from my family and the people and the place that I love."
A Heitkamp bid would have likely pitted her for the second time against Gov. John Hoeven, who is seeking the GOP nomination in the Senate race and beat Heitkamp in the 2000 gubernatorial election.
Paul Sorum, of Fargo, is also vying for the Republican nomination.
Bismarck state senator Tracy Potter is the only declared Democrat in the Senate race so far, although others expressed interest in running if Heitkamp did not.
National Republicans were quick to react to Heitkamp’s decision, saying “the Democrat’s top tier candidates in North Dakota are seeing the writing on the wall.”
“Heidi didn’t need a crystal ball,” Republican National Committee spokesman LeRoy Coleman said. “Her decision to not to run was a reaction to the political climate in North Dakota. Folks don’t want another shill for big-government policies and out of control spending. North Dakotans stand ready to hold them accountable this fall.”
For more on this story, read Thursday's Forum.