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Some Democrats rule out statewide election bids

BISMARCK, N.D. — Some past and current Democratic-NPL officeholders say they've been asked but aren't considering running for statewide office in 2014 because their interests lie elsewhere.

Grand Forks Sen. Mac Schneider said his priority right now is his work as minority leader in the state Senate and helping strengthen the party's position in the chamber.

"I won't be running for anything statewide. I'm very committed this cycle to the caucus and to bring more balance to the Senate," Schneider said.

The Democrats hold 14 of 47 seats in the Senate. They have 23 out of 94 seats in the House.

"It's always an honor to be mentioned," Schneider said of a possible statewide office bid. "It won't be in 2014. I would love to some day."

Fargo state Sen. George Sinner said he's still considering a run for statewide office. He said he plans on making an announcement of his intentions sometime next week.

Tracy Potter, executive director of the Fort Abraham Lincoln Foundation, ran unsuccessfully in 2012 for head of the Department of Public Instruction. He also lost by a wide margin in the 2010 U.S. Senate race to Republican John Hoeven.

"A number of people have asked and talked to me about it," Potter said. "But no. I'm fully against being a candidate for statewide office. I just don't have any interest in any of the offices up for election."

Potter revealed that he is considering a run for the state Legislature but hasn't made a final decision yet. Potter was elected to the state Senate in 2006 and served a single term.

Former Senate minority leader and 2012 gubernatorial candidate Ryan Taylor said he might run for office in a future election but is counting himself out of the 2014 race.

Taylor, a farmer and columnist from Towner, said he's committed to his two-year fellowship through the Bush Foundation that he began in May.

"I'm still immensely interested in everything going on politically in North Dakota," Taylor said. "(But) 2014 isn't going to be the right time for me political-wise or family-wise."

The Tribune left messages with other Democratic officials and past candidates, but messages for comment were unreturned.

Current officeholders contacted were Grand Forks state Rep. Corey Mock and USDA Rural Development State Director Jasper Schneider.

Messages also were left with 2012 U.S. House candidate and former Rutland state Rep. Pam Gulleson.

Reach Nick Smith at 250-8255 or 223-8482 or at nick.smith@bismarcktribune.com.

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