BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Republican John Hoeven faces a defector from his own party and a lightly funded Democrat on Tuesday in his race for a third U.S. Senate term from North Dakota.
Rick Becker narrowly lost the party’s endorsement to Hoeven in April. After originally saying he wouldn’t run if he didn’t get the endorsement, the Bismarck plastic surgeon who has led a growing far-right faction of the GOP in North Dakota decided to run as an independent.
Katrina Christiansen, a University of Jamestown engineering professor and political newcomer, is the Democratic candidate.
Hoeven, a former banker who served three terms as governor and won his first two Senate terms easily, vastly outraised his opponents. Federal campaign filings as of Nov. 3 show that Hoeven’s campaign raised more than $4 million, compared with Becker’s roughly $550,000 and Christiansen’s roughly $92,600.
Becker tried to turn that history and money against him at the party convention, portraying Hoeven as a big-spending, big-government politician who had lost touch with his conservative base.
Hoeven countered by touting his involvement in North Dakota’s economic development and highlighting his opposition to most of President Joe Biden’s policies. Hoeven got a video message of support from former President Donald Trump, who remains popular in the state.
Before he was first elected to the Senate in 2010, Hoeven served as North Dakota’s governor for a decade and as head of the state-owned Bank of North Dakota for seven years prior to that. The former Democrat switched parties four years before he became governor.