North Dakota's former Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp (D) is contemplating a Senate race against the state's popular Republican governor.
Gov. John Hoeven is seen as the favorite to succeed Sen. Byron Dorgan (D), who shocked his home state and Washington this week when he announced his retirement.
Hoeven has not announced his plans, but polls showed him leading Dorgan by a wide margin in a head-to-head match-up.
“Heidi is very interested in running against John Hoeven,” her brother Joel Heitkamp said Thursday on KFGO Fargo-Moorhead's “News and Views.” “Heidi is very much looking into this race."
Heitkamp took on Hoeven in the state's 2000 gubernatorial contest, when Hoeven won his first term in office by 10 points. While that's a healthy margin, it is also his narrowest victory to date.
Joel Heitkamp said his sister is consulting with her close advisors and will make a decision shortly about whether to run.
“I think Heidi is very interested in what she can do for this state,” said Heitkamp, who's also been mentioned as a Democratic candidate for the Senate. “I know she hasn’t made up her mind yet. It's just flat out too soon.”
Democratic interest in another Heitkamp run is growing -- at least online. The Facebook group “Heidi Heitkamp for US Senate 2010” boasts 1,174 members. In contrast, Dorgan has only 947 Facebook supporters, while Hoeven has 832 online supporters.
Hoeven told the AP on Wednesday that he was considering the race "very seriously, and we'll have an announcement out very soon. Certainly within the next couple weeks."
The Republican would enter the race as the heavy favorite given his successful reelection bids and the tough climate in 2010 for Democrats. Though North Dakota's congressional delegation is all Democratic, the state also is seen as favorable ground for the GOP. Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) won more votes than President Barack Obama in the state in 2008.