North Dakota Republican Governor John Hoeven, “who has avoided questions about whether he will challenge Democrat Byron Dorgan for his U.S. Senate seat, says he is likely to decide by early September whether he will make the race,” the AP reports.
North Dakota’s Republican state chairman, Gary Emineth, said he hoped to recruit Republicans to challenge Dorgan and North Dakota’s Democratic congressman, Earl Pomeroy, by Labor Day, Sept. 7. Candidates against both men will need a long head start on campaigning and fundraising to improve their chances of winning, Emineth said.
Hoeven, in an interview, said Emineth’s goal is reasonable and said his own decision will be made at about that time. "I don’t have any specific time line, but that’s probably a reasonable range," the governor said.
National Republicans will likely be enlisted to pressure Governor Hoeven’s decision.
Emineth wants Hoeven to run against Dorgan, and he has promised to enlist national Republican leaders in the lobbying effort.
"We’re putting on a full-court press … to reach out to the governor and talk about the type of assistance that would be there," Emineth said. "It could be the race to watch in the country."
Meanwhile, Josh Kraushaar notes that this decision could impact how incumbent Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) votes on cap and trade climate change legislation.
At the least, the prospect of a Hoeven candidacy would make it less likely for Dorgan to support any version of cap-and-trade legislation, given that he represents a state that’s dependent on coal for much of its electricity.