After Sen. Byron Dorgan unexpectedly announced his retirement last week, many suspected the move may have been precipitated by a tip that popular GOP Gov. John Hoeven was planning to run against him.
Hoeven is expected to announce today.
Hoeven's entry into the race is no surprise. A Rasmussen Reports poll conducted last month showed Hoeven lead Dorgan by 22 percentage points. Dorgan's abrupt and unexpected exit from the campaign made the race even more appealing to the widely popular three-term governor.
In recent days, top Republicans, including 2008 presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, have encouraged Hoeven to make the run in a contest in which he's presumed to be the favorite.
Hoeven, the nation's longest-serving governor, is expected to begin speaking to the Bismarck Republican District Convention around 6:00 p.m. Monday in order to snag live coverage from the local evening newscasts.
Rep. Earl Pomeroy was the Democrats' best chance at retaining the seat in a run against Hoeven, but he has declined to run. Instead, Pomeroy will face a third challenge from Republican Kevin Cramer while the Democrats are rumored to be courting ultra-liberal (and ultra loud about it) MSNBC host Ed Schultz.