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‘People are building personal empires’: Challengers question Sen. Hoeven’s personal wealth ahead of primaries

He’s more than doubled his personal wealth since he was sworn in to the senate. Will it make a difference to voters?
Published: Jun. 14, 2022 at 9:23 AM EDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - John Hoeven is vying for a third term in office – with several helpful factors.

He’s got name recognition, a party-loyal voting record and deep pockets.

According to Open Secrets – he’s the third wealthiest person in the senate. That wealth is a major concern for his opponents on both sides – including Republican challenger Riley Kuntz.

“The longer you’re in office, the more beneficial it is for your pocketbook,” said Kuntz.

Kuntz is running on a pro-freedom, limited spending platform.

Hoeven’s increasing wealth is one of the reasons Kuntz is pro term-limits.

“He’s done very well for himself. Let’s let someone else in.”

One of two democratic challengers, Katrina Christiansen, is an engineering professor running for increased educational and medicare funding.

She’s also in favor of term limits for the same reason as Kuntz.

“We have people building out individual empires in the state through our political system,” said Christiansen.

Much of Hoeven’s personal wealth stems from his career in finance.

According to Open Secrets, in 2018 he had an estimated net word 46 point six million dollars - which is more than double the $22 million dollars he was worth when he took office in 2011.

University of North Dakota Political science professor Mark Jendrysik says Hoeven’s increased earnings since serving in congress isn’t uncommon.

“I mean, they have opportunities, you know, for speech making for all sorts of things that can they can raise money,” said Jendrysik. “I think, you know, certainly over time, you know, a reasonable investment strategy would certainly increase. And Mr. Hoeven certainly wasn’t poor when he entered office.”

Jendrysik explains Hoeven’s wealth might not be the deciding factor for North Dakotans.

“I think the voters generally think he’s likable, he’s trustworthy.

We’ve reached out to Hoeven’s camp – and they tell us quote,

“it’s unfortunate that his opponents want to engage in negative campaigning,” adding that he’s focused on working for the people of North Dakota.

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