BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — U.S. Sen. John Hoeven easily won North Dakota’s Republican primary Tuesday, coasting past an unknown and poorly funded political neophyte ahead of a November matchup when he’s again likely to be a heavy favorite.
Hoeven defeated Riley Kuntz, an oil field worker who said Hoeven had been in Washington far too long but who raised less than $5,000 for his long-shot bid. Hoeven, seeking his third term at age 65, raised more than $3.2 million in the run-up to the primary.
Katrina Christiansen, a University of Jamestown engineering professor, had the Democratic endorsement in that party’s primary, where she faced Michael Steele, a Fargo art and antiques dealer.
Both Christiansen and Steele were largely unknown outside their hometowns, and raised little money — about $21,000 by Christiansen and $2,100 by Steele.
Hoeven won both of his previous Senate terms with more than 76 percent of the vote.
GOP U.S. Rep. Kelly Armstrong was unopposed as he seeks a second term. Democrat Mark Haugen, also unopposed, is his November opponent Haugen, of Bismarck, is a University of Mary graduate adviser and has long worked as a paramedic.
Hoeven was first elected to the Senate in 2010 after longtime Democratic Sen. Byron Dorgan retired.
Hoeven was elected governor in 2000 after seven years as president of the state-owned Bank of North Dakota. In 2008, he became the first person ever elected to a third four-year term as North Dakota’s chief executive. A former Democrat, Hoeven switched parties four years before his first successful gubernatorial run.
Hoeven got a scare at the GOP convention in April when he narrowly won the GOP endorsement of delegates over the leader of the ultraconservative wing of the party. Bismarck state Rep. Rick Becker painted Hoeven as a big-spending, big-government politician who had lost touch with his conservative base.
Hoeven countered by touting his involvement in North Dakota’s economic development and highlighted his opposition to most of President Joe Biden’s policies. Hoeven got a video message of support from former President Donald Trump.