State Senator Tom Campbell Apparently Polling Ahead of Potential 2018 Run


State Senator Tom Campbell, a Republican from Grafton, has long made it clear that he’d like to move up the political ladder.

He flirted with a gubernatorial run in 2016, though ultimately stayed out of the race. In December, when Congressman Kevin Cramer’s name was in the mix for an appointment in the Trump administration, Campbell told me he would “absolutely” run in a special election to replace the Congressman.

I don’t think this ambition has faded. A SAB reader tells me today that he got a polling call from someone working on behalf of the state Senator.

Apparently the poll tested Campbell against state Rep. Rick Becker (R-Bismarck), state Senator and NDGOP Chairman Kelly Armstrong (R-Dickinson), and former Congressman Rick Berg in a potential primary match up. Congressman Kevin Cramer, widely talked about as a potential Senate candidate challenging Democratic incumbent Heidi Heitkamp, wasn’t mentioned in the poll.

Perhaps an indication that Campbell wouldn’t challenge Cramer? Or maybe the poll was testing a possible House race to replace Cramer should he decide to run for the Senate?

The reader says it wasn’t clear if the poll was testing for a House race or a Senate race.

“Frankly it’s probably for whatever Cramer doesn’t run for,” the reader opined.

That sounds about right.

Becker told me after the NDGOP state convention last year that he’d be interested in a possible race against Heitkamp in 2018.

“Never say never,” Berg told me in April when I asked him if he was going to jump into a 2018 race, adding that “campaigning is tough stuff.”

This is the first I’ve heard of Armstrong possibly considering higher office.

I called and texted Senator Campbell for a response but he didn’t immediately respond. If he does I’ll update the post.

UPDATE: Senator Campbell texted this statement to me this afternoon:

Yes I am taking a poll. I’m certainly looking at running statewide next year and am taking all the necessary steps to make sure I’m prepared to run a strong campaign. I will keep you posted down the road on how well it goes.