Rep. Kevin Cramer announces he will challenge Sen. Heidi Heitkamp for Senate seat

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BISMARCK Rep. Kevin Cramer announced Friday that he will be running for U.S. Senate.

The incumbent congressman previously announced he would not seek Sen. Heidi Heitkamp's seat in January but has since reconsidered.

Cramer represents the most serious threat to Heitkamp in what is expected to be one of the most contended senate races of 2018.

Cramer will challenge state Sen. Tom Campbell and Paul Schaffner for the GOP nomination.

Dustin Peyer is the only Democratic challenger that has announced to run against Heitkamp.

Heitkamp said in a statement:

Today's announcement doesn't change much for me. I go to work every day in the U.S. Senate fighting for North Dakota and rural America – and those goals will not waver. North Dakota needs a voice in the Senate who will fight to keep our communities strong and safe, fight for working families and retirement security, and fight for small businesses and farmers who keep our towns thriving. North Dakotans aren't interested in petty political infighting and want a U.S. Senator who works with Republicans and Democrats to find real solutions just as I have done during my time in the Senate. It’s a true honor for me to serve our state and I hope to continue to serve because I still have work to do.