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Published March 03, 2010, 11:41 AM

Heitkamp Won't Run for U.S. Senate

Former North Dakota Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp says she won't run for the U.S. Senate.

By: Associated Press, WDAZ

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Former North Dakota Attorney General Heidi

Heitkamp says she won't run for the U.S. Senate. But she'll

consider a campaign for governor in two years.

Heitkamp disclosed her decision today on her brother Joel

Heitkamp's talk show on KFGO Radio of Fargo.

North Dakota Democrats have been urging Heitkamp to challenge

Republican Gov. John Hoeven in this year's Senate race.

Hoeven is the expected Republican nominee to run for the seat.

Incumbent Democrat Byron Dorgan isn't seeking re-election.

Heitkamp described her decision as intensely personal. She

referred to her diagnosis with breast cancer 10 years ago -- and

she said the illness made her explore what was most important to


She said -- "my life is in the state of North Dakota."

Heitkamp says this election year is likely to be tough for

Democrats -- and she says "no one will ever know" whether she

could have won a Senate race.

Bismarck state Senator Tracy Potter is the only Democratic

candidate for the party's Senate endorsement so far.

Heitkamp strongly hinted she may run for governor in two years.

She says she thinks the governorship is "the absolute best job"

in the state, and said she's not ruling out a race then.

The 54-year-old Heitkamp is a former state tax commissioner and

attorney general. She was North Dakota's attorney general for eight

years before she ran unsuccessfully against Hoeven. She hasn't run

for office since.

She says she visited Washington to discuss the possible Senate

race and spoke to Senate Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid and

New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez -- who is the chairman of the

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.