Short version: Gov. Jack Dalrymple, a Republican, will not seek another term (North Dakota is one of the states that elects Governors in Presidential election years). Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat, wants to be governor of North Dakota. This, then, would be a heavy temptation for her.
Two ‘problems,’ however*: one, North Dakota is a heavily Republican state, so she might lose. That will make her 2018 re-election… interesting. Sen. Heitkamp barely won in a squeaker in 2012; she has absolutely no margin whatsoever. But if Heidi Heitkamp wins the gubernatorial election, then the Democrats have an immediate headache: North Dakota passed a law earlier this year that dictates that all Senate vacancies must be filled via special election. Given that the Democratic bench is as devastated in North Dakota as it is everywhere else in the United States, this effectively means that she’d be replaced with a Republican.
From the outside it’s hard to say which is preferable, honestly: although I certainly expect that North Dakotan Republicans would have a different perspective. I suppose that the optimal result for us here would be for Sen. Heitkamp to resign immediately to run for Governor, and then lose; that way we keep both the governorship and also pick up a Senate seat before the 2016 election. But I sincerely doubt that Heitkamp will be that accommodating, and it would be hard to blame her.
Oh, and one last thing:
Sen Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., “Over his more than three decades in public service in North Dakota, Governor Dalrymple has made the state and its people his priority. He has been someone who will listen to all sides of a debate and work with those who disagree with him. During his tenure, I’ve been proud to call Jack and Betsy friends. They love North Dakota, and we saw their fight for our state in full force during the flooding in Minot and around the Missouri River Basin in 2011. Thank you to Jack for his work for North Dakota, and I wish him and Betsy well.”
…think that that’s going to play well with national Democrats, this cycle? No? Well, I agree with you on that. Not that you can trust a Democrat to properly manage North Dakota’s oil industry. More accurately, not that you can trust a state Democrat to not defer to national Democrats, given that the latter are far too beholden to radical environmentalists for any rational person’s comfort. The Greenies would dearly love to shut down oil production in North Dakota, and if you think that Heidi Heitkamp will stand up to them, then I have this wonderful wind farm business opportunity that I’d like you to invest in**…
Moe Lane (crosspost)
*Well, they’re not problems for me.
**Full disclosure: I do not.