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Minot Republican to run for U.S. Senate, joins growing pool of candidates

MINOT -- A fourth Republican plans to challenge U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp for her seat.

Paul Schaffner of Minot said in a news release he will seek the GOP nomination for Senate. He plans to host a news conference Monday in Bismarck.

“As a blue-collar conservative, I look forward advancing policies, aiding ranchers, pipeline operators, floor hands on drilling rigs,equipment operators and so many other hard-working blue-collar professions,” he said in a statement.

Schaffner called himself and President Donald Trump “streetfighters,” adding the Senate “does not need another Rockefeller Republican.”

Schaffner joins a growing field of Republican candidates hoping to unseat Heitkamp in the November election. State Sen. Tom Campbell, R-Grafton, became the first candidate in the race when he announced in August. Gary Emineth, a former North Dakota Republican Party chairman, and Air Force veteran Thomas O’Neill of Niagara, N.D., both threw their hats in the race last month.

Heitkamp, a Democrat, faces a contender in her own party, Driscoll firefighter Dustin Peyer said he would seek the Democratic endorsement.

U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer, a Republican, mulled about a Senate run but said in January he would seek re-election to his own seat. He told Forum News Service on Friday he is “mildly reconsidering” that decision.

Schaffner announced a U.S. House bid for the 2010 election but backed out of the race to eventually support Cramer.

April Baumgarten

April Baumgarten joined the Grand Forks Herald May 19, 2015, and covers business and political stories. She grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, where her family continues to raise registered Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at Jamestown (N.D.) College, now known as University of Jamestown. During her time at the college, she worked as a reporter and editor-in-chief for the university's newspaper, The Collegian. Baumgarten previously worked for The Dickinson Press as the Dickinson city government and energy reporter in 2011 before becoming the editor of the Hazen Star and Center Republican. She then returned to The Press as a news editor, where she helped lead an award-winning newsroom in recording the historical oil boom.

Have a story idea? Contact Baumgarten at 701-780-1248.

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