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Senate leader will announce Friday if he will run for PSC

BISMARCK -- Sen. Bob Stenehjem, R-Bismarck, will make announcements Friday about his possible run for a Public Service Commission seat.

The events will be at 10 a.m. in Fargo at The Depot, 701 Main Ave. ; 2 p.m. in Bismarck, at Republican Headquarters and 4 p.m. in Dickinson at the West River Community Center.

He said Tuesday he will make appearances at all locations even if he is announcing he will not run.

Stenehjem had earlier set a series of announcements for Jan. 7 and then canceled them.

Stenehjem has been Senate majority leader since 2001. He said Tuesday that if he seeks the party endorsement for PSC and is defeated at the state convention, he will run for re-election to his Senate seat in Bismarck's District 30.

Stenehjem would be the third Republican to formally enter the field of those seeking the Republican endorsement for the post being vacated by Public Service Commissioner Susan Wefald.

The others are North Dakota State University military logistics professor Brian Kalk of Fargo and former Cass County commissioner and Fargo financial consultant Steve Risher.

A fourth, Sen. Randy Christmann, R-Hazen, said Tuesday that he is still considering it and will likely announce his decision shortly after next week's presidential preference caucuses.

There is one announced Democratic-NPL candidate for the PSC, Cheryl Bergian of Fargo, who ran unsuccessfully for the commission in 2006. Other Democrats, including Rep. Ben Vig, D-Aneta, and Sen. Aaron Krauter, D-Regent, have expressed interest in the race.

Janell Cole works for Forum Communications Co., which owns The Dickinson Press.