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The Latest: Cramer prepares North Dakota Senate bid

February 15, 2018

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The Latest on North Dakota’s U.S. Senate race (all times local):

10:45 a.m.

Rep. Kevin Cramer is preparing to announce his entry into North Dakota’s Senate race, granting Republicans’ wish for a top candidate to take on Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp.

A source close to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who spoke with Cramer says the congressman will enter the race at a rally Friday evening in Bismarck. The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak ahead of an official announcement, said Cramer had reconsidered an earlier decision against running after hearing from constituents.

Cramer’s Facebook page Thursday listed a “Cramer for Senate Announcement & Rally” Friday evening at the Bismarck Ramada. The post included a picture of the congressman with “Kevin Cramer U.S. Senate.”

Kris Cramer, who is Cramer’s wife and also works on his campaign, declined to confirm that Cramer is entering the race.

The North Dakota seat is seen as a big pickup chance for Republicans. Heitkamp narrowly won in 2012, and President Donald Trump carried the state by a wide margin in 2016.

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Associated Press writer Thomas Beaumont contributed to this report from Des Moines, Iowa.

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9:30 a.m.

Rep. Kevin Cramer appears to be jumping into North Dakota’s Senate race, a move that would give Republicans the candidate they hoped would take on Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp.

Cramer’s Facebook page Thursday listed a “Cramer for Senate Announcement & Rally” Friday evening at the Bismarck Ramada. The post included a picture of the congressman with “Kevin Cramer U.S. Senate.”

Campaign officials didn’t immediately respond to messages from The Associated Press.

Cramer announced in January that he was passing up the Senate race and would run for another House term instead. He came under pressure from his party to reconsider over concerns that the GOP would miss a big chance to pick up a Senate seat. Heitkamp is among 10 Democrats in states Trump carried up for re-election in 2018.

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