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Hoeven decisively defends US Senate seat in three-way North Dakota race

Incumbent Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., seeking his third Senate term, faced challenges from independent Rick Becker on the right and Democrat Katrina Christiansen on the left.

Hoeven wins
U.S. Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., speaks at an election party in Bismarck flanked by family members on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022. Hoeven won his third Senate term earlier in the night.
Kyle Martin / Forum News Service
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FARGO — Sen. John Hoeven decisively staved off challenges from his political right and left in a three-way race that posed his greatest threat at the ballot box in more than two decades.

Hoeven, the Republican incumbent seeking his third term, was shown with 56.4% of votes cast in the Nov. 8 election. He was followed by Kristina Christiansen, his Democratic-NPL challenger, with 24.9% and by independent candidate Rick Becker with 18.5% in complete but unofficial results.

hoeven_voting.jpg
U.S. Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., fills out a ballot at the Bismarck Event Center on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022. Hoeven, a two-term senator, is facing his biggest challenge for reelection with two other candidates vying for his position.
Jeremy Turley / Forum News Service

Hoeven said he didn't modify his campaign approach to adjust to the three-candidate race.

"I really approached it the same way," he said. "I ran the same race that I always ran. I think we ran a strong, positive campaign."

The North Dakota Republican Party now must come together to work to advance the state, Hoeven said.

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"We have the right approach for the state," he said. "We need to be united. We're a big-tent party, but at the end of the day, we can never take things for granted."

Hoeven said he will work to help write a new five-year farm bill and to advance energy development over the next six years. "We're going to be doing some amazing things," he said of energy development. "It's big stuff."

A staunch conservative lawmaker from Bismarck who ran as an independent, Becker challenged Hoeven from the right, assailing the popular incumbent as a “squishy moderate RINO” — Republican in name only — who was a big-spending friend of special interests.

Becker was a late entry in the Senate race. He lost to Hoeven for the Republican endorsement in April and dropped out, returning as an independent in August after first pledging to accept the Republican party’s choice.

Christiansen, the Democratic-NPL candidate and an engineering professor at the University of Jamestown, was the political newcomer of the field. During the campaign, she presented herself as a problem-solver with fresh ideas.

Hoeven’s campaign was bankrolled by his huge war chest. In the 2022 election cycle, he spent $4.8 million as of Oct. 19, dwarfing his two opponents, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission compiled by OpenSecrets.

Becker trailed far behind, spending $129,798, followed by Christiansen, who spent $68,178.

A former banker, Hoeven is the dean of North Dakota’s congressional delegation and the state’s most senior elected leader, routinely racking up lopsided victories over the past two decades.

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He was elected governor in 2000, beating Democrat Heidi Heitkamp with 55% of the vote — his narrowest victory. Thereafter, in two more races for governor and his two previous Senate campaigns, Hoeven repeatedly racked up victories surpassing 70% of the vote and reliably establishing himself as the state’s top vote-getter.

Hoeven Jaeger
U.S. Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., right, shakes hands with Republican Secretary of State Al Jaeger at an election party in Bismarck on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022. Jaeger is retiring at the end of his term after three decades in office.
Kyle Martin / Forum News Service

Since winning his Senate seat, Hoeven has focused on supporting the twin pillars of North Dakota’s economy, agriculture and energy.

U.S. senators serve six-year terms and are paid an annual salary of $174,000.

Patrick Springer first joined The Forum in 1985. He covers a wide range of subjects including health care, energy and population trends. Email address: pspringer@forumcomm.com
Phone: 701-367-5294
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