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N.D. Dems to announce U.S. House candidate next week; Sinner says, ‘I haven’t backed away’

BISMARCK – The state Democratic-NPL Party expects to announce a candidate next week for North Dakota’s lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, party Executive Director Chad Oban said Tuesday.

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“Our candidate will be very well-positioned to take on Kevin Cramer,” Oban said, referring to the first-term Republican congressman who currently holds the seat.

State Sen. George B. Sinner, D-Fargo, has been mentioned as a leading potential challenger to Cramer. In an interview in early February, Sinner hinted at a House run, telling Forum News Service, “I have my decision made. I just have got to get some other people to agree with my decision.”

Reached by phone Tuesday afternoon, Sinner declined to comment on whether he will seek the office, but he did address recent speculation that he had backed away from a House run.

“All I will confirm is that I haven’t backed away,” he said.

Sinner, a senior vice president with American Federal Bank in Fargo and the son of former North Dakota governor George A. “Bud” Sinner, is serving his first four-year term in the Legislature, having won election in 2012.

Jason Flohrs, executive director of the North Dakota Republican Party, said Sinner is the only Democrat he has heard mentioned as a possible challenger to Cramer. Flohrs added that he’s “not really concerned with who it is.”

“It sounds like they’re dragging somebody kicking and screaming to the starting line, and that’s just not a way to run a race where you’ve got multiple disadvantages to start with,” he said.

Democrats will endorse their candidates at the party’s state convention March 28-30 in Fargo. Cramer will seek the Republican endorsement at the GOP’s state convention the next weekend in Minot, as will DuWayne Hendrickson of Minot. Libertarian Party candidate Jack Seaman also is running for the House seat.

Mike Nowatzki

Mike Nowatzki reports for Forum News Service. He can be reached at (701) 255-5607.