John Henry Hoeven III (/ˈhvən/ HO-ven; born March 13, 1957) is an American banker and politician serving as the senior U.S. Senator from North Dakota since 2011. A Republican, he served as the 31st governor of North Dakota from 2000 to 2010. In 2010, Hoeven was elected to the U.S. Senate, succeeding Senator Byron Dorgan, who chose not to seek reelection. Hoeven became North Dakota’s senior senator in 2013 after Kent Conrad retired and was succeeded by Heidi Heitkamp, who was once Hoeven’s opponent for the governor’s office. Hoeven was reelected in 2016.

Before being elected governor, Hoeven was a banker who served in numerous executive roles at various banks, most notably as president of the nation’s only state-owned bank, the Bank of North Dakota, from 1993 to 2000.[2] He is on the board of directors at First Western Bank & Trust and has an estimated net worth of $45 million, making him one of the wealthiest U.S. Senators.[3][4][5] He is the dean of North Dakota’s congressional delegation.

Early life, education, and early career

Hoeven was born in Bismarck, North Dakota, the son of Patricia “Trish” (née Chapman) and John Henry “Jack” Hoeven, Jr. His father owned a bank in Minot, North Dakota, where he worked as the president and chairman.[6] Hoeven’s ancestry is Dutch, Swedish, and English.[7]

He studied at Dartmouth College, which his father also attended. Hoeven belonged to the Alpha Chi Alpha fraternity and graduated with honors. After graduating with an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, he managed the trust department at First Western Bank & Trust, an institution his father helped found.[8] From 1993 to 2000, he was the president and CEO of the Bank of North Dakota.

Governor of North Dakota


In 2000 Hoeven ran for governor of North Dakota as a Republican and won, defeating Democratic NPL nominee Heidi Heitkamp, 55 to 45 percent.


In 2004, when up for reelection, Hoeven faced Democratic-NPL nominee Joe Satrom. He was reelected with 71% of the vote.


On November 13, 2008, Hoeven announced his candidacy for a third term and kicked off his campaign with stops in Fargo, Grand Forks, Bismarck and Minot.[9] On November 4, he was reelected with 74% of the vote over Democratic-NPL nominee Tim Mathern. It was the first time in North Dakota history that a governor won three four-year terms in office, though the record for serving is still maintained by Bill Guy, who served 12 years.


Hoeven’s governorship included the expansion and diversification of the state’s economy, which led to a 49.5% increase in the state’s real gross domestic product.[10] Beginning in 2000, he directed the development of a multi-resource energy program for the state with incentives in each energy sector, making North Dakota one of the largest energy-producing and exporting states in the country. The state gained nearly 40,000 new jobs during his tenure. Wages and personal incomes grew faster than the national average. For a few years, the state led the nation in export growth. In late 2006, the state’s reserve rose past $600 million, and now is over $700 million.[11]

As of December 2009, Hoeven was the country’s most popular governor. His approval rating stood at 87% with only 10% disapproving.[12] In January 2007, Hoeven became the nation’s most senior governor, having been inaugurated on December 15, 2000, as established by the North Dakota Constitution.

U.S. Senate

On January 11, 2010, Hoeven announced he would run in the 2010 North Dakota Senate election for the seat being vacated by Byron Dorgan.[13] Hoeven defeated Democratic-NPL nominee Tracy Potter, 76% to 22%, making him the first Republican to represent North Dakota in the Senate since 1987.[14] Since 2013, Hoeven has been the dean—the most senior member—of North Dakota’s congressional delegation. As of 2018, he was listed as one of the seven wealthiest U.S. Senators.[15]

For his tenure as the chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee in the 116th Congress, Hoeven earned an “F” grade from the non-partisan Lugar Center’s Congressional Oversight Hearing Index.[16]

Committee assignments

Political positions

Hoeven was briefly a member of the Democratic-NPL Party before becoming active in the Republican Party as a district chair and volunteer.[17] He has walked a conservative line on some issues and a moderate one on others, including increasing education funding, ethics reform, compensation for teachers, as well as increased funding on infrastructure.[18]


Hoeven supports decreasing access to parole for offenders.[18] He believes that drug control policy should be a state issue, not a federal one.[19]

Economy and employment

Hoeven opposed the Employee Free Choice Act, which included a card check provision.[19]

Energy and environment

Hoeven believes that alternative fuels are a long-term solution but that increased oil drilling is required in the short term.[19] He has been a vocal advocate for the Keystone Pipeline, claiming that it has never leaked and that environmental risks have been exaggerated.[20][21] The Keystone Pipeline has in fact leaked twice, in 2010 and in 2016.[22]

In 2015, Hoeven submitted an amendment asserting that climate change is real and that humans are contributing to it but also that the Keystone Pipeline would not contribute to climate change.[23] His League of Conservation Voters score was 7% for 2018.[24]

Gun policy

Hoeven consistently votes for pro-gun legislation and has earned an “A+” rating from the National Rifle Association (NRA).[25] The NRA has endorsed him multiple times, including during his campaigns for governor in 2008 and senator in 2010.[26][27]

In June 2016, Hoeven voted in the Senate on four gun control proposals that were developed as a result of the Orlando nightclub shooting. He voted for Chuck Grassley‘s expansion of background checks and to provide funding to research the cause of mass shootings, and for John Cornyn‘s 72-hour wait period for purchases of guns by individuals on the terrorist watch list. He voted against Chris Murphy‘s proposal to require background checks for every gun sale, including online sales and at gun shows, and against Dianne Feinstein‘s proposal to ban anyone from the terrorist watchlist from purchasing a gun.[28] Hoeven voted against the latter bill due to its lack of “judicial oversight or due process”.[29]

Israel Anti-Boycott Act

In April 2017, Hoeven co-sponsored the Israel Anti-Boycott Act (s. 720), which would bar federal contractors from participating in boycotts against Israel or Israeli settlement.[30][31]


In 2013, Hoeven voted to pass Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013.[32]

LGBT rights

In 2013, Hoeven voted against banning discrimination based on sexual orientation.[33] He is against same-sex marriage.[34]

National security

On May 28, 2021, Hoeven voted against creating an independent commission to investigate the 2021 United States Capitol attack.[35]


Hoeven supports investment tax credits for farm investments.[19]

Women’s issues

Hoeven identifies as pro-life, opposing abortion in all cases except for rape, incest, or threat to the mother’s life. He opposes government funding for elective abortions and is a supporter of the Hyde Amendment, which permits federal funding for abortion services only under the above stated exceptions.[18] Hoeven voted to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act in 2012.[18]

Electoral history

2000 North Dakota gubernatorial election[36]
Republican John Hoeven 159,255 55.03% -11.16%
Democratic-NPLHeidi Heitkamp130,14444.97%+11.16%
Republican holdSwing
2004 North Dakota gubernatorial election[37]
Republican John Hoeven (Incumbent) 220,803 71.26% +16.23%
Democratic-NPLJoe Satrom84,87727.39%-17.58%
LibertarianRoland Riemers4,1931.35%
Republican holdSwing
2008 North Dakota gubernatorial election[38]
Republican John Hoeven (Incumbent) 235,009 74.44% +3.19%
Democratic-NPLTim Mathern74,27923.53%-3.86%
IndependentDuWayne Hendrickson6,4042.03%
Republican holdSwing
2010 United States Senate election in North Dakota[39]
Republican John Hoeven 181,689 76.08% +44.36%
Democratic-NPLTracy Potter52,95522.17%-46.11%
LibertarianKeith Hanson3,8901.63%N/A
Republican gain from Democratic-NPLSwing
2016 North Dakota Senate Republican primary results[40]
Republican John Hoeven(Incumbent) 103,677 99.57%
Total votes104,122 100.00%
2016 United States Senate election in North Dakota[41]
Republican John Hoeven (incumbent) 268,788 78.48% +2.40%
Democratic-NPLEliot Glassheim58,11616.97%-5.20%
LibertarianRobert Marquette10,5563.08%+1.45%
IndependentJames Germalic4,6751.36%N/A
Total votes342,501′ 100.0%’ N/A
Republican hold


  1. ^ “Ranking the Net Worth of the 115th”. Retrieved August 5, 2019.
  2. ^ “Biography | U.S. Senator John Hoeven of North Dakota”. Retrieved 2019-01-15.
  3. ^ “Our People”. First Western Bank & Trust. Retrieved 2018-12-07.
  4. ^ Jr., Warren Cassell (2016-04-15). “Who Are America’s Seven Richest Senators?”. Investopedia. Retrieved 2018-09-20.
  5. ^ “John Hoeven- Net Worth – Personal Finances”. OpenSecrets. Retrieved 2018-09-20.
  6. ^ News, Jill Schramm Minot Daily. “Jack Hoeven, father of U.S. Sen. John Hoeven, dies”. Bismarck Tribune. Retrieved 2018-12-07.
  7. ^ “John Henry Hoeven III”. RootsWeb. Archived from the original on September 3, 2013. Retrieved February 5, 2012.
  8. ^ “First Western | News, Sports, Jobs – Minot Daily News”. Retrieved 2018-12-07.
  9. ^[dead link]
  10. ^ “Percent change in real GDP of North Dakota between 2001 and 2008”. Wolfram Alpha. Wolfram Alpha LLC. Retrieved February 5, 2012.
  11. ^ “Governor John Hoeven”. Archived from the original on 2010-04-19.
  12. ^ Knepper, Alex (January 7, 2010). “Who Is John Hoeven?”. Race 4 2008. Archived from the original on April 1, 2012. Retrieved February 5, 2012.
  13. ^ Cillizza, Chris (January 11, 2010). “Republicans get Hoeven in North Dakota”. The Washington Post. Retrieved February 5, 2012.
  14. ^ Ogden, Eloise (November 3, 2010). “Hoeven is North Dakota’s first Republican senator in 24 years”. Minot Daily News. Archived from the original on November 7, 2010. Retrieved May 23, 2015.
  15. ^ Cassell, Warren (January 30, 2018). “Who Are America’s Seven Richest Senators?”. investopedia. Retrieved June 13, 2018.
  16. ^ “Congressional Oversight Hearing Index”. Welcome to the Congressional Oversight Hearing Index. The Lugar Center.
  17. ^ Kleefeld, Eric (January 27, 2010). “Flashback: Republican Senate Candidate Hoeven Rejected GOP And Declared Himself A Democrat In 1996”. Talking Points Memo. Retrieved February 5, 2012.
  18. ^ a b c d Bendery, Jennifer (April 26, 2012). “Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization Overwhelmingly Passes Senate”. Huffington Post.
  19. ^ a b c d “John Hoeven on the Issues”. On The Issues. & the SpeakOut Foundation. Retrieved February 5, 2012.
  20. ^ Kupec, Rob (March 5, 2012). “Senator Hoeven working to revive Keystone Pipeline Project”. WDAY. Archived from the original on September 15, 2012.
  21. ^ Hoeven, John (February 24, 2012). “Why we need the Keystone oil pipeline”. CNN.
  22. ^ Neuhauser, Alan (April 8, 2016). “Keystone Leak Worse Than Thought”. U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved September 8, 2016.
  23. ^ KolliparaJan. 21, Puneet; 2015; Pm, 6:30 (2015-01-21). “Wrap-up: U.S. Senate agrees climate change is real—but not necessarily that humans are causing it”. Science | AAAS. Retrieved 2019-06-16.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  24. ^ “Check out Senator John Hoeven’s Environmental Voting Record”. League of Conservation Voters Scorecard. 2019-03-26. Retrieved 2019-06-16.
  25. ^ “The Voter’s Self Defense System”. Vote Smart. Retrieved 7 October 2017.
  26. ^ “NRA-PVF Endorses North Dakota Governor John Hoeven Earns “A+” rating from NRA-PVF”. NRA-PVF. Retrieved 7 October 2017.
  27. ^ “NRA-PVF Endorses John Hoeven for U.S. Senate in North Dakota”. NRA-PVF. Retrieved 7 October 2017.
  28. ^ Abbott, Rick. “How they voted: North Dakota, Minnesota senators on gun bill”. Bismarck Tribune. Retrieved 7 October 2017.
  29. ^ Rupard, Wade. “North Dakota, Minnesota senators take different stances on federal…” Grand Forks Herald. Retrieved 7 October 2017.
  30. ^ “Cosponsors – S.720 – 115th Congress (2017-2018): Israel Anti-Boycott Act”. 23 March 2017.
  31. ^ Levitz, Eric (2017-07-19). “43 Senators Want to Make It a Federal Crime to Boycott Israeli Settlements”. Intelligencer.
  32. ^ Roll call vote 168, via
  33. ^ Liebelson, Dana. “Meet the 32 Senate Republicans who voted to continue LGBT discrimination in the workplace”.
  34. ^ Smith, Nick. “N.D. delegation split on gay marriage”. Bismarck Tribune. Retrieved 2018-10-23.
  35. ^ “Which senators supported a Jan. 6 Capitol riot commission”. Washington Post. May 28, 2021.
  36. ^ “ND Secretary of State Election Management System – Statewide Election Results”. Archived from the original on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  37. ^ “Election Results Portal”. Archived from the original on 2011-09-27. Retrieved 2019-08-01.
  38. ^ “Archived copy”. Archived from the original on 2011-07-28. Retrieved 2011-05-23.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  39. ^ “Official Results General Election”. North Dakota Secretary of State. November 2, 2010. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  40. ^ “North Dakota Secretary of State”. ND Secretary of State. Retrieved September 22, 2016.
  41. ^ “North Dakota Official Results General Election – November 8, 2016”. North Dakota Secretary of State. Retrieved December 20, 2016.

Further reading

External links

Civic offices
Preceded by
Joseph Lamb
President of the Bank of North Dakota
Succeeded by
Eric Hardmeyer
Party political offices
Preceded by
Ed Schafer
Republican nominee for Governor of North Dakota
2000, 2004, 2008
Succeeded by
Jack Dalrymple
Preceded by
Mike Liffrig
Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from North Dakota
(Class 3)

2010, 2016
Most recent
Political offices
Preceded by
Ed Schafer
Governor of North Dakota
Succeeded by
Jack Dalrymple
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Byron Dorgan
U.S. senator (Class 3) from North Dakota
Served alongside: Kent Conrad, Heidi Heitkamp, Kevin Cramer
Preceded by
John Barrasso
Chair of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee
Succeeded by
Brian Schatz
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Pat Toomey
United States senators by seniority
Succeeded by
Marco Rubio