Voters Getting Call From Pollster Testing Becker, Schmidt Against Heitkamp

State Rep. Rick Becker, left, and State Treasurer Kelly Schmidt, right.

Multiple SAB readers contacted me last night and this morning saying they’ve been getting polled on potential match ups in North Dakota’s 2018 Senate race.

Incumbent Democrat Heidi Heitkamp announced that she’s running for re-election this morning, which is news to exactly nobody given the millions from out of state she’s already been stuffing in her campaign coffers.

Republicans, meanwhile, have just one potential challenger in the race so far, though it’s still pretty early. State Senator Tom Campbell announced his U.S. Senate campaign last month and has been active on the campaign trail ever since.

There will certainly be more Republican candidates in the race. Border States Electric CEO Tammy Miller is considering a run as is oil field geologist and State Board of Higher Education member Kathy Neset. Congressman Kevin Cramer is also considering taking a stab at a Senate run.

But the two candidates I’m told were being tested against Heitkamp in the polling calls my readers got were state Rep. Rick Becker and Treasurer Kelly Schmidt.

Becker has represented Bismarck-area District 7 since the 2013 legislative session. Schmidt, meanwhile, was first elected Treasurer in 2004 and got over 60 percent of the vote for re-election in 2008, 2012, and 2016.

“There’s just stuff going on in the background on who all is running,” Becker told me this morning. “We may not know until closer to December,” he said of any announcement of his own campaign.

It’s not clear who is paying for the polling. Schmidt hasn’t returned my calls this morning, but I spoke with Becker and he said it’s not him.

Becker had told me previously that he’d be announcing his intentions with regard to the Senate race, which he’s had his eyes on since he concluded his unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign last year, this fall some time.

“There’s just stuff going on in the background on who all is running,” Becker told me this morning. “We may not know until closer to December,” he said of any announcement of his own campaign.

“I’m not feeling as much in a rush,” he added.

Last month a meeting with Becker appeared on Congressman Kevin Cramer’s public schedule released to the media. I asked Becker about that meeting, and he confirmed that it was about the 2018 Senate race.

I asked Becker what he thought about the odds of Cramer joining that race. “I was a person saying he’s not going to run,” Becker said, but added that after the meeting he’s not sure what Cramer is going to do.

“I guess I moved my marker more toward yes,” he said.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and the host of the Rob (Re)Port on Fargo-based WDAY AM970 from 1-2pm weekdays.

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