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Heitkamp to Decide on Campaign for Governor Over Next Week

Heitkamp, whose Senate seat could be vulnerable in 2018, told a local radio station her decision would come by next week. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat whose seat could likely be a top target for national Republicans in 2018, will soon announce whether she will pursue a political path that could take a re-election campaign out of the picture.  

Evers since the state’s Republican governor, Jack Dalrymple, announced he would not seek re-election next year, Heitkamp has been mulling a run. Speaking on her brother's radio show on Wednesday, Heitkamp said  she would reveal her decision in the next five to seven days.  “I think she’s a 50-50 at this point,” said one Democrat familiar with her thinking, adding that while her profile might make her more competitive than other Democrats in the deeply red state, a successful campaign would not be an easy feat.  

Heitkamp sought the job once before in 2000, but lost to John Hoeven, the Republican who, after he served for 10 years as governor, ran successfully for Senate in 2010.  

A Heitkamp spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.  

At least three Republicans are considering their own campaigns ahead of the state nominating convention next April, including Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley and Fargo businessman Doug Burgum. But, Wrigley would enter the race damaged. On Tuesday , he admitted to an extramarital affair, but said he was still considering a campaign for governor.  

Other senators who have considered runs for governor in their home states this year have faced similar political hurdles. Sen. Joe Manchin III in West Virginia  and Sen. Claire McCaskill in Missouri  have both opted against running for governor to instead focus on their potentially tough 2018 re-election efforts.  

Related: Open Governor’s Race Could Lure Heidi Heitkamp Home to North Dakota Roll Call Race Ratings Map: Ratings for Every House and Senate Race in 2016 Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.