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Rick Becker, Bismarck state legislator, rules out run for Congress

Rep. Rick Becker, R-Bismarck, looks at the tally board Feb. 21, 2017 while lawmakers vote during the 2017 North Dakota Legislature. Mike McCleary / Bismarck Tribune

BISMARCK -- Republican state Rep. Rick Becker ruled out a run for Congress Tuesday night, Jan. 2, writing on Facebook that “there’s so much to do” in North Dakota.

The announcement provides further clarity to this year’s races, as Republican U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer considers a run against incumbent Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp.

Becker, a plastic surgeon from Bismarck, said he’s “just not ready to quit working in North Dakota.” He said he’ll seek reelection to the state House after falling short of the Republican endorsement for governor in 2016.

“There will be significant temptation to raise taxes, but we need to confine ourselves to working with an even tighter budget by spending less,” he wrote on Facebook. “There are a multitude of issues that need to be tackled, and I feel compelled to do my absolute best to make a difference right here in North Dakota.”

Border States Electric CEO Tammy Miller, State Treasurer Kelly Schmidt and Kathleen Neset, an oil field consultant who serves on the State Board of Higher Education, have already declined to run against Heitkamp. The senator has only one declared challenger: state Sen. Tom Campbell of Grafton.

Rick Berg, a former congressman who narrowly lost to Heitkamp in 2012, didn’t rule out a run a month ago. He didn’t immediately return a message Wednesday afternoon.

Former Democratic state lawmaker Ben Hanson is running for the U.S. House.

John Hageman

John Hageman covers North Dakota politics from the Forum News Service bureau in Bismarck. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Grand Forks Herald and Bemidji Pioneer.  

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