GOP Rep ‘Trending’ Toward Challenging Heitkamp in 2018 After ‘Persuasive’ Meeting With Trump

Rep. Kevin Cramer / Getty Images

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Rep. Kevin Cramer (R., N.D.) said he is "trending" toward a Senate run after meeting with President Donald Trump on Tuesday to discuss the possibility of challenging Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D., N.D) in the 2018 midterm elections.

Cramer told a North Dakota local NBC affiliate that after the "persuasive case that the president had made," he is now "trending more — toward a positive answer," Roll Call reports.

"It was certainly a persuasive case that the president had made, and I appreciate the time and thoughts for this and appreciate his knowledge of North Dakota," Cramer told KFYR-TV.

"I think it is fair to say and that my mindset and my decision making is trending more that way and certainly today’s meeting would certainly steer more towards a positive answer," Cramer continued. "But I’m not to the point where I’m settled in my own heart and mind and that’s going to require [my wife] Kris and me sitting down and both feeling it together and like I say she has veto power over a yes, but we both have to come to a yes for me to say yes."

Trump handily won North Dakota with 61 percent of the vote in 2016. Heitkamp, considered one of the most vulnerable Democratic senators, won the seat in 2012 in an upset win with 50.5 percent. Cramer, the at-large member representing the entire state, outperformed even Trump in the 2016 election, garnering 69.2 percent of the vote.

Under North Dakota law, candidates must file before April 9, but Cramer believes he will decide by early February.

"I would expect sometime by the end of either January or early February; I will make a decision, whether it is a yes or a no, and give people plenty of time to prepare for the convention and primary and all of those things," Cramer said.

Among the Republican hopefuls seeking to challenge Heitkamp is State Sen. Tom Campbell, who announced his candidacy in August. State treasurer Kelly Smith is being encouraged to run by Club for Growth, but has not announced whether she will run.

Charles Russell

Charles Russell   Email Charles | Full Bio | RSS
Charles Russell is a Media Analyst for the Washington Free Beacon. Before joining the Beacon he worked at America Rising and has spent several years on multiple campaigns. Charles can be reached at russell@freebeacon.com, his twitter handle is @charleswrussell.

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