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Sinner, son of former ND governor, a possible challenger for Cramer

By Patrick Springer

Forum News Service

FARGO – Democrat George B. Sinner is considering challenging Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., for North Dakota’s lone congressional seat.

Sinner, who was elected to a seat representing south Fargo in the North Dakota Senate, expects to decide around the end of the year regarding a 2014 bid.

“I’m looking at all the options,” Sinner said Monday. “I haven’t decided.”

Sinner has not taken any formal steps, including forming an exploratory committee.

“I think I’ve got some time to think about this,” he said, noting that political announcements tend to come early in the year of the election.

In a sign interest in the 2014 U.S. House race is picking up, Jack Seaman of Fargo on Monday announced his candidacy for the seat as a Libertarian.

“Congress is stuck in perpetual gridlock,” Seaman, who owns and operates MinDak Gold Exchange in downtown Fargo, said in a statement. “We deserve better. I am running for Congress because I am sick and tired of the way our federal government is working or, in many cases, not working.”

Meanwhile, Tom Fiebiger, a Fargo lawyer and former state senator, said he is considering a possible run for Cramer’s seat as a candidate for the Democratic-NPL Party.

“I’m looking at it,” said Fiebiger, who was elected in 2006 to the state Senate to represent north Fargo’s District 45, but was defeated in 2010 by a Republican challenger.

Both Sinner and Fiebiger said they consider Cramer, who is serving his first term, vulnerable because of discontent over the recent partial government shutdown and Congress’ failure to pass a new farm bill, among other issues.

Sinner, whose father George Sinner was North Dakota governor from 1985 to 1992, said he has received encouragement to run from “party faithful” but has yet to receive broader support.

“You need more than that,” he said, referring to support from party loyalists. Similarly, he said he has not seen any polling results.

“Nobody has brought me anything that would make me want to jump in,” Sinner said. “But I won’t say that I’ve closed the door.”

Chad Oban, executive director of the North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party, said interest is running high in the party to try to unseat Cramer.

Cramer, a former Public Service Commission member, was elected in 2012 to the seat Republican Rick Berg captured two years earlier after defeating Democrat Earl Pomeroy, who held the seat from 1993 to 2011.

“We have a tremendous amount of people who are looking at this race,” Oban said, adding that he knows of four others who are considering a run.

“In the last two or three months, the excitement to take on Congressman Cramer has stepped up,” he said.

“Both Tom or George would be excellent candidates if they decide to get into the race,” Oban said.

Sinner represents District 46 in the state Senate. He is a senior vice president at American Federal Bank in Fargo, where he is involved in agricultural and business lending.

Fiebiger said any serious candidate eyeing a House seat would need to be able to raise $1 million or more, based on spending levels in the 2012 campaign.

Dustin Monke

Monke came to The Dickinson Press in July 2006 as the newspaper's sports editor and was hired as its managing editor in March 2013. During his tenure at The Press, Monke has won multiple awards for sports reporting, feature reporting, column writing, page design and photography. He was a key part of The Press winning the North Dakota Newspaper Association's General Excellence and Sweepstakes awards in 2009 and 2012, and oversaw The Press' Sweepstakes and General Excellence wins in 2014, as well as its national first-place honors for Community Leadership in the Inland Daily Press Association and contributed to the first-place Inland award for Investigative Reporting. As the newspaper's editor, he writes an occasional Sunday column, is a member of The Press' Editorial Board, contributes feature stories and breaking news, designs pages, and oversees the day-to-day operations of the newsroom and editorial staff. In his free time, he enjoys watching sports and action movies, exercises whenever his schedule allows, and spends every minute he can with his wife and son.

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