BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota Democrats made eleventh-hour filings to fill gaps in the June primary but still lacked candidates for one statewide office and several House and Senate slots in some legislative districts.
Late Monday was the deadline for candidates to file with the state secretary of state’s office for the election. The flurry of last-minute filings — including some by Republican legislative hopefuls — had the office reviewing candidates’ petitions Tuesday, a task that likely won’t be completed until late Wednesday, said Jim Silrum, the deputy secretary of state.
At their convention this month, North Dakota Republicans endorsed candidates for the eight statewide offices on the June 14 ballot. But at the Democratic convention last month, the party failed to recruit contenders for tax commissioner and secretary of state.
On Tuesday, Democrats still appeared unable to find a candidate for tax commissioner to face Brian Kroshus. GOP Gov. Doug Burgum chose Kroshus last year to replace Ryan Rauschenberger, who resigned after seven years to focus on recovering from alcohol problems.
However, Democrat Jeffrey Powell, an administrator at Mayville State University, filed for secretary of state just before Monday’s deadline. Republican Marvin Lepp, a political newcomer and auto dealership worker from Bismarck, is challenging GOP endorsed candidate and state Rep. Michael Howe. All are seeking to replace 78-year-old Al Jaeger, who was first elected in 1992 and isn’t seeking reelection.
Democrats haven’t had a majority in the state House or Senate or held the governor’s office since the early 1990s. Democrats held all three of North Dakota’s seats in Congress from 1987 to 2011, but that ended long ago, and the GOP now holds them all.
North Dakota has 47 legislative districts. Each is represented by two House members and a senator, who are elected at large for four-year terms. At present, Republicans have 80 House seats to Democrats’ 14, and a 40-7 edge in the Senate. All but one Democrat is up for reelection this year, a consequence of legislative redistricting that was required due to population shifts reflected in the 2020 federal census.
Democratic slates in several legislative districts had a number of holes Tuesday, although that could change once all petitions are reviewed by the state secretary of state’s office.
Preliminary filings show Republicans were unable to recruit legislative candidates in a handful of districts in the Democratic stronghold of Fargo, including four House seats and one Senate seat.
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