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N.D. governor announces run for U.S. Senate

BISMARCK - After serving as North Dakota governor since 2000, John Hoeven said Monday night he believes he's the right candidate to bring "commonsense" policy back to Washington, D.C.

Hoeven announced his bid for the U.S. Senate before a crowd of 200 Republican supporters in the state capital at the first district conventions of the 2010 election season.

"We have been working to build our future together in North Dakota," Hoeven said. "Tonight, we are reaching out again, and asking you to work with us to build our future together - not just in North Dakota - but in America."

Cheers of "Bring on, John!" and "Hoeven, Hoeven!" resounded throughout the room at the Doublewood Inn here during the 15 minutes before Hoeven took to the stage.

"It's time for fresh leadership," said state Tax Commissioner Cory Fong, who introduced the governor. "We deserve and we want the kind of progress and advancement and reform at the federal level that we've experienced right here in North Dakota during the last nine years under Governor Hoeven's leadership."

Hoeven, who's considered the Republican favorite, emphasized his background and experience in serving North Dakota and said Monday he wants to bring "commonsense" policy back to Washington.

"That's why we're here tonight: to get America working again," Hoeven said. "At this hour in our nation's history, we heed a plan that will create good jobs and restore a commonsense approach to government and the economy.

"That means reducing the tax burden. That means lowering energy costs. That means encouraging entrepreneurial investment, deploying new technologies and establishing a strong financial position for the country, so that we don't burden future generations with unsustainable debt."

Hoeven's announcement comes less than a week after Democratic Sen. Byron Dorgan shocked voters and his party with the news he would not seek re-election in November.

Political observers had been speculating for months that Hoeven would seek election to the Senate seat this year. Prior to Dorgan's decision, polls showed Hoeven leading Dorgan in the potential match-up by a wide margin.

But Dorgan shut down speculation last week that his decision had anything to do with a potentially heated race against Hoeven. Dorgan said he wanted to pursue other interests outside public office.