Report: GOP Rep. Changes Mind, Will Run For Senate Against Heitkamp

Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call Group

In a change of heart, Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) will announce on Friday that he will run for the U.S. Senate in 2018, challenging Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), the Bismarck Tribune reported Thursday.

The paper cited a person close to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) who spoke to Cramer about the race.

The news would be a boost for the GOP as it seeks to maintain control of the Senate this fall. It currently holds a 51-49 edge.

Cramer’s apparent reversal came only about one month after he confirmed that he would not run and would instead run for re-election in the House.

The congressman had been Republicans’ favorite candidate to challenge Heitkamp, and his decision not to run had been a blow to the GOP’s chances to flip the Senate seat. Cramer is an ally of President Donald Trump, who carried North Dakota 63 to 27 in 2016.

Both Trump and McConnell had urged Cramer to run for the Senate, and it appears McConnell made another appeal since Cramer passed on the race.