North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple’s retirement puts Sen. Heidi Heitkamp in quite the pickle.

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. (more…)

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