Cramer ‘Trending’ Toward Senate Run After Trump Meeting

Would face Heitkamp, considered one of the most vulnerable Democrats in the Senate

Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., met Tuesday with President Donald Trump, who is urging him to get in the Senate race against Democrat Heidi Heitkamp. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

After meeting Tuesday with President Donald Trump, North Dakota Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer said he’s “trending” toward challenging Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp this year.

“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.

Cramer also said that Trump tried to make the case for a run to Cramer’s wife, Kris, and son, Abel.

“I think it is fair to say that my mindset and my decision-making is trending more that way, and certainly today’s meeting would certainly steer more toward a positive answer. But I’m not to the point where I’m settled in my own heart and mind. That’s going to require Kris and me sitting down and both feeling it together. Like I say, she has veto power over a ‘yes,’ but we both have to come to a ‘yes’ for me to say ‘yes,’” Cramer said after his meeting with the president.

Heitkamp is considered one of the most vulnerable Democratic senators, hailing from a state that Trump won overwhelmingly. Cramer represents the entire state as its at-large member.

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race a Toss-up.

North Dakota’s filing deadline is not until April 9, but Cramer said he will likely make a decision before then. 

“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.

State Sen. Tom Campbellannounced his candidacy in August. Campbell is selling himself as someone who would partner with Trump. But the conservative group Club for Growth is encouraging state Treasurer Kelly Schmidt to run for the seat as well.

Correction, Jan. 3, 2018, 4:18 p.m. | An earlier version of this story misstated the name of the state treasurer of North Dakota. She is Kelly Schmidt.


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