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New oil workers key bloc in ND Senate race

November 5, 2012 • Business


In this Oct. 29, 2012 photo, Patty Caldwell, right, a former Oregon resident and owner of a cleaning business in New Hradec, N.D., and her daughter, Amanda Caldwell, who also works in the business, stand outside the Dunn County courthouse in Manning, N.D., shortly after they voted early for the Nov. 6 election. The Caldwells moved to North Dakota because of available work in the state’s oil-producing region, and they are voting in North Dakota for the first time this year. (AP Photo/Dale Wetzel)

MANNING, N.D. (AP) — Shirley Meyer grew up on a ranch north of Dickinson, N.D., and has represented her rural district in the state House for a decade. But when she knocks on doors in her re-election campaign, she sometimes feels like a stranger in her own home.

“I was just shocked at how many new people there were,” Meyer said during a recent campaign swing through a south Dickinson mobile home park. “I didn’t see one North Dakota (license) plate.”

The oil boom that has transformed North Dakota’s economy and reshaped the rolling prairie landscape has also added an element of mystery to next week’s election by adding thousands of potential new voters to the region’s tiny electorate. And the political suspense is tied to the national question of which party controls the Senate in January.

North Dakota’s contest is one of several states with Senate contests that have remained tied for months, with no signs of clarifying before Tuesday’s election. A handful of them, such as Montana’s Senate race one state west, may not even be resolved then.

Republicans are still looking to gain four seats they need to win the Senate majority if Login to read more

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