State Rep. Rick Becker has submitted petitions to make the November ballot as an independent candidate for U.S. Senate.
He needs 1,000 valid signatures of North Dakota voters; Secretary of State Al Jaeger said Becker on Friday submitted about 2,000. Jaeger’s office will finish reviewing the signatures next week.
Becker, R-Bismarck, challenged incumbent John Hoeven, R-N.D., for the Republican Party’s endorsement at the GOP state convention in April. Hoeven received 1,224 votes to Becker’s 1,037 on the first ballot of convention delegates to win the endorsement.
Democrat Katrina Christiansen, a University of Jamestown engineering professor, also is running for U.S. Senate.
Becker has said he’s running because of inflation that’s been hurting consumers and to clamp down on government spending.
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He founded the ultraconservative Bastiat Caucus in the Legislature, a group of lawmakers who support gun rights, limited government and less spending.
The plastic surgeon told the Tribune in March that he planned to honor the results of the convention as he did in 2016 when he ran for governor but did not get the party endorsement.
“I like our political process, and as a member of the Republican Party in North Dakota, I’m going to honor the process. That’s what it’s all about,” he previously said.
Becker told the Tribune he pledged at the convention not to run in the June Republican primary if he did not receive the party’s endorsement, “and I kept that pledge.”
“As we’re moving forward, I’ve been growing more discontented with the idea that the voters … are limited to a choice, in my opinion, between two big spenders. One’s Democrat, one’s Republican,” Becker said.
North Dakota GOP Chairman Perrie Schafer called it “unfortunate” that Becker “has decided to leave the Republican Party and run as an independent against our Republican candidate who won the convention and the primary.”
Republicans control the Legislature and every statewide elected office and congressional seat in North Dakota. Former U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp was the last Democrat to win a statewide election, in 2012.
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