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November elections in North Dakota

Here, North Dakota Living presents information to aid voters in their familiarity with statewide candidates and ballot measures appearing on the Nov. 8 general election ballot.

Included are identifications and responses to a question from Democratic-NPL, Libertarian and Republican party candidates in races for governor, United States Senate, United States House of Representatives and for a seat on the N.D. Public Service Commission.

In Governor candidates section, lieutenant governor (lt. gov.) running mates are identified.

Also presented are identifications of candidates in other statewide races, including state auditor, state treasurer, insurance commissioner, superintendent of public instruction, and two positions as Supreme Court justice.

For candidate identification, political party affiliation, where a candidate is the endorsed party candidate, is provided. Otherwise, a race is identified as non-partisan, and no party affiliation accompanies a candidate’s name.

Note: Competing candidates will be presented in alphabetical order. Identifications will also include a candidate’s campaign website/Facebook site, if available.


  • Governor's Race

    Marvin Nelson, Democrat candidate for North Dakota Governor Marty Riske, Libertarian candidate for North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, Republican candidate for North Dakota governor

    Joan Heckaman, lt. gov.)

    MARTY RISKE Libertarian(Joshua Voytek, lt. gov.)

    DOUG BURGUM - Republican(Brent Sanford, lt. gov.)

    QUESTION: Cutting state budget items and drawing on state contingency funds have been the executive and legislative approach to address current drastically reduced state revenues. As governor, what will be your state budgeting and financial administration priorities as the current biennium is completed, and a new one started on July 1, 2017?

    BURGUM: For much of the last decade, North Dakota was experiencing strong economic growth in energy and agriculture. Unfortunately, our state is now facing new types of challenges. I’m running for governor because North Dakota needs innovative ideas and new ways of thinking to compete in the 21st century economy. As governor, my administration would work with Republicans and Democrats to balance our budget without increasing taxes on hardworking families. We will accomplish this by eliminating wasteful spending and streamlining programs to make state government more efficient.

    We also need to create a diverse value-added economy that builds from our core strengths in energy and agriculture while embracing the opportunities of tomorrow. By supporting and embracing entrepreneurs and innovators, we will create new jobs, diversify and expand our tax base, and reduce our dependency on commodity prices beyond our control. Finally, we not only need great jobs, we need great communities that attract and retain our young people. We need to build healthy communities and revitalize our main streets. And we need to re-invent education for the 21st century to ensure a bright future for our kids and grandkids. 

    North Dakota’s best days are in front of us, and working together to diversify and transform our economy and our communities, we will not only solve our current budget shortfall, but also create a pathway for sustained economic growth for the future.

    NELSON: First is to have the state pay for its programs and not to push the responsibilities to the local level. Secondly, no general taxes increases unless absolutely necessary. I would tap the Legacy Fund before doing tax increases.  If necessary, I would turn to the income taxes which are now below the levels voters rejected. We need to maintain our level of state funding for K-12 education. We need to make an increased commitment to our coal industry.  We also need to restore Medicaid funding and reauthorize the Medicaid expansion or our rural health care system is likely to collapse and mental health services will be impossible.

    We need reform for property taxes. It is important that the state take back the social service funding. It will be difficult, but it is true reform rather than just paying a portion of the property tax. There are so many tax breaks, destroying the concept of simple low tax rates for all. We need to get a handle on that. At the least, the Legislature needs to authorize specific amounts.

    Our state is in a precarious financial position. Oil and agriculture are both in trouble. Tourism is doing well, but is one discrimination bill away from problems.  Our health care system may be pushed into recession by the cuts to Medicaid being imposed. Income by the state in the general fund and from oil is down some $5 billion. We must be careful not to panic, we have resources.

    RISKE: As governor, I will focus upon developing audit methods needed to determine where unneeded or duplication costs are being incurred. The audit will be precise as to where cuts will do the least harm, plus it will reveal management methods that will enhance government performance. All private nonprofits are forced by law to be audited; our state should, too.

    Major deficits require big savings, therefore we would look for consolidation of departments, up to and including actions that would require voter approval, such as merging the treasurer’s office, the tax department and the office of management and budget into one Department of Revenue and Budgeting. Such a move would require voter approval to eliminate the tax commissioner and treasurer as elected offices, but this would be a high-level approach to consolidating state government to be more efficient.

    Higher education is another long-standing area of duplication. I would ask the Legislature to offer our public universities incentives to work on consolidating programs, swapping specialties and generally reducing administrative bloat. We have to make it worth each university's effort to streamline their own operations instead of rewarding growth for growth's sake. When it comes to economic diversification, my favorite approach is to look for possibilities in agriculture, food processing and packaging. We are a great growing state, therefore it is best for us to diversify to protect our greatest investment. I would use the sovereignty of North Dakota to override the federal ban on growing industrial hemp.

  • U.S. Senator

    Elliot Glassheim, Democrat candidate for U.S. Senator N.D. Sen. John Hoeven, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate N.D. Robert Marquette, Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate, N.D.


    JOHN HOEVEN - Republican
    Current U.S. Senator


    QUESTION: What package of federal legislation, and accompanying federal initiatives, should be enacted which will help assure that North Dakota’s oil and natural gas can continue to be extracted, and lignite coal can be mined and used for electric power generation?

    GLASSHEIM: While we all recognize the vital importance of domestic energy in our state and national economy, our federal energy policies require increased sensitivity to our nation’s environmental and economic concerns. Energy industries as well as state and federal regulators must reposition themselves away from antagonism and toward mutual cooperation with the goal of decreasing CO2 emissions in the atmosphere. With that demonstrated cooperation, we have a right to expect significant increases in federal support for industry in continued research and development of technologies needed to contain carbon emissions. In the U.S. Senate, I will work for the permanent extension of the federal tax credit for CO2 capture and storage and increase the credit for CO2 use in enhanced oil recovery from $10/ton to $20/ton.

    Federal policies on hydraulic fracturing must be based on science, rather than emotions. In North Dakota, fracking does not pose a significant danger to surface-level drinking water, because our oil is located far below the water table. Federal policies should be based on the geological reality that fracking in North Dakota is not the same as fracking in Pennsylvania or New York. The evidence shows that fracking in North Dakota is safe.

    Aligning our energy goals with the nation's environmental and economic interests will allow the continued development and extraction of our oil, gas and coal resources.

    HOEVEN: North Dakota is a national leader in coal, oil and natural gas production. North Dakota has led the nation’s energy renaissance, helping to reduce prices consumers pay at the pumps and the prices families pay for electricity. The biggest threats to North Dakota’s energy sector and its citizens are the numerous, costly and burdensome regulations created by federal agencies. That is why I am pushing policies nationally to build a comprehensive plan for energy development that lets states lead the way.

    States are in the best position to regulate coal, oil and natural gas production. The legislation I’ve introduced, and passed, provides for a states-first approach that provides certainty and encourages investment. This includes: the Coal Ash Recycling Act, which provides for state permitting of coal ash; the Keystone XL Pipeline Approval Act; the Water Heater Efficiency Bill, which allows rural electric co-ops to use large electric water heaters in rural areas; the Empower States Act, which establishes a states-first approach to regulate oil and gas; and North American Energy Security Act, which streamlines the cross-border approval for pipelines and electric lines. 

    These legislative initiatives, combined with my work on the Appropriations Committee to develop carbon capture technology for our coal industry, highlights what we can do with the right approach that empowers our energy sector.

    MARQUETTE: The federal government has inserted itself into our economy, our industries and our personal lives to an extent that far exceeds its constitutional limits. The problems illustrated in this question reflect the fact that there is simply too much federal regulation, and the problems caused by Washington's overreach are not limited to the fossil fuel industries. So, I do not believe that the solutions to these problems can be found through a legislative process that validates and expands the federal government's influence over our economy.

    I will work to eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Energy, and return regulatory power to the states where it belongs. The people of North Dakota can decide for themselves how they will manage their natural resources


  • U.S. Representatives

    Rep. Kevin Cramer, current member of U.S. House, N.D. Chase Iron Eyes, Democratic candidate for U.S. House, N.D. Jack Seaman, Libertarian candidate for U.S. House, N.D.

    Current member, U.S. Congress



    QUESTION: In light of the recent drop-off in net farm income – including more than a 60 percent reduction in 2015 net farm income among North Dakota family farmers – what federal legislation and policy developments should the U.S. Congress pursue which will preserve the financial viability of North Dakota farmers and ranchers?"

    CRAMER: Next year, Congress will begin work on the 2018 Farm Bill. This will present new opportunities to increase limits for guaranteed and direct loan programs and to unshackle producers from the costly and onerous regulations now placed upon them. Top priorities must be eliminating conservation compliance from crop insurance eligibility and continuing the one-for-one acre wetlands mitigation requirement passed in my Cramer Amendment in 2013. My House colleagues, Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD) and Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN), and I are addressing the backlog of Swampbuster wetlands determinations through legislation we recently introduced. This bill also enacts permanent reforms to make the wetlands determination process more efficient, accountable and transparent.

    I am pursuing every avenue possible to stop the implementation of the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, the government’s egregious attempt to regulate every puddle on every farm in every state. A small glimmer of hope came in this battle with a unanimous Supreme Court ruling in May on a case brought by North Dakota’s own Hawkes Co. Inc. That decision upheld the rights of landowners to appeal executive decisions to the federal court.

    As with any commodity, there must be strong markets for our products, which is the core of an "America’s Farmers First" trade policy I strongly endorse. Keeping our producers on their farms and ranches with adequate support and fair programs will allow them to continue doing what they do best – feed a hungry world.

    IRON EYES: As the endorsed candidate for the Democratic-NPL party, we’ve got our roots in farming and ranching and in working families standing up to outside financial exploitation. So I would support a farm bill that protects North Dakota’s farmers, ranchers and ag producers, and even ancillary businesses.

    One place where my opponent, Kevin Cramer, and I differ is that he advised Donald Trump to let the renewable fuels standard die. That renewable fuels standard represents $300 million every year to North Dakota’s farmers, producers, truckers and other businesses. This helps their families feed their children and send their kids to college. That’s one thing I would do to protect North Dakota’s agricultural interests.

    SEAMAN: A reduction in net income among family farmers is something that certainly needs to be addressed. However, relying on federal legislation to fix it is just asking for more problems. If we want Congress to preserve the financial viability of North Dakota farmers and ranchers, reducing the size and power of the federal government is the way to get it done. Our bloated federal bureaucracy hurts family farmers with stifling regulations and red tape, a convoluted farm bill and an intervening Federal Reserve monetary policy, which distorts markets and manipulates our dollar.

    No government should intervene in private business of any type, especially not a government teetering on the brink of a $20 trillion national debt that both Republican and Democrat lawmakers are responsible for, including Kevin Cramer and his votes in favor of budgets that send us further into debt. North Dakota’s family farmers would be best served by a small, constitutional federal government that allows them to live and run their operations as they see fit, as long as they don’t interfere with the rights of others.

    As your representative in Congress, I would be willing to make the hard decisions and votes necessary to balance the budget, shrink government and restore a sound money policy, things which I believe our state and country desperately need. True change in our government must happen now. If you agree, I ask you: If not us, who? If not now, when?

  • Public Service Commission

    Julie Fedorchak, Republican, curren Public Service Commissioner, N.D. Marlo Hunte-Beaubrun, Democrat candidate for Public Service Commissioner N.D. Thomas Skadeland, Libertarian candidate for Public Service Commissioner, N.D.

    Current Public Service Commissioner



    QUESTION: In ruling on commission cases involving disputes over service territories between electric cooperatives and investor-own utilities, what factors, evidence and public policy interests will guide your decision-making?

    FEDORCHAK: Service territory disputes between electric cooperatives and investor-owned utilities are among the most challenging issues the PSC is tasked to settle. State law doesn't prohibit investor-owned utilities from serving outside their designated area, but requires them to obtain a certificate of public convenience and necessity before doing so. North Dakota electric providers voluntarily agree to dozens of these arrangements to serve customers every month without the PSC's involvement. Occasionally, however, a dispute arises and we need to settle it.

    The state Legislature and the North Dakota Supreme Court have provided strong guidance for the commission for settling disputes. I rely heavily on this guidance and carefully weigh the factors of each dispute. The 10 factors that direct these decisions are: electric suppliers in the area, the number of customers and supply lines within two miles, reliability records, customer preference, wasteful duplication, economies of service, orderly and economic development of service, interference with a competitor's service, and likely future inclusion within a corporate municipality.

    I scrutinize the evidence and make my decision based on which party prevails on each factor and, ultimately, the case as a whole. Each case is unique and my decision in each case will be different based on the evidence. This approach ensures a fair decision based on the key factors that are intended to provide for sensible development, economic and reliable service, elimination of wasteful duplication and fair interplay between our state's utilities.

    HUNTE-BEAUBRUN: In looking at territorial disputes, among the factors I would consider are the differences in how the cooperatives and the private investor-owned companies do business. Every case is different, but there is a territorial integrity public policy that is quite helpful in those situations. I would use that as a guide, so we don’t have overlapping services.

    SKADELAND: As someone who firmly believes in the principles of self-ownership and property rights I would always base my voting on what I believe to be the just position maintaining these principles. In any and all disputes, I would adhere to natural law theory devoted to all individuals having equal human rights. These rights include, but are not limited to, the right to own property, live free from compulsion, and enter contracts voluntarily. Recognizing these rights is critical for any society to live in peaceful cooperation and prosper economically. Interference in this peaceful process of cooperation will only cause disorder and constitutes a form of aggression against peaceful parties, violating adherence to the natural law theory.

    Property can only be acquired legitimately by three voluntary methods: homesteading previously unowned property, exchanging property voluntarily with another party, or by gift. All three can be verified and enforced through property titles and contracts. Any acquirement of land done by force or threat of violence is unjust and illegitimate. Only voluntary contracts are legitimate in a society that recognizes and respects the natural law theory.

    I would base each vote on my principled belief in the natural law theory which holds that all individuals are sovereign, may own property, may engage in voluntary exchange, and may live free from compulsion. I would view any violation of the natural law unjust and deserving of expulsion. Peace.

  • Other Races

    Here are other statewide election races and candidates appearing on the Nov. 8 general election ballot. Competing candidates are presented in alphabetical order. In races which include party-endorsed candidates, next to each name, "D" refers to Democratic-NPL party; "L" refers to Libertarian Party; and "R" refers to Republican party. No party identifier is used in races identified as "Nonpartisan." The website, or email information for the candidate, if publicly available, appears with each candidate identification.

    INSURANCE COMMISSIONER (four-year term)

    NICK BATA (L) -



    STATE TREASURER (four-year term)


    ERIC OLSON (L) -

    KELLY SCHMIDT (R) - Current State Treasurer

    STATE AUDITOR (four-year term)




    SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION (four-year term, nonpartisan race)

    KIRSTEN BAESLER Current Superintendent of Public Instructor -



    JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT (10-year term; nonpartisan; two candidates for one position)

    ROBERT BOLINSKE, SR. - www.bolinskisrlaw



    JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT (last two years of a 10-year term; nonpartisan, one candidate for one position)

    LISA FAIR MCEVERS  Current Supreme Court Justice

    For information on participating in the Nov. 8 elections, go to: which is the voter and elections information resource maintained by the North Dakota Secretary of State.

    Note: New rules and procedures for voter identification will be in effect for the upcoming November elections in North Dakota. These new rules and procedures are outlined at that website. A voter identification rule/procedure being reinstated allows for identification by affidavit at a polling place on election day.


  • Measures on November ballot

    Five measures appear on the Nov. 8 statewide ballot, each asking for approval or rejection by North Dakota voters. The following is official ballot language pertaining to each measure.

    Constitutional Measure No. 1

    (Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 4010, 2015 Session Laws, Ch. 500)

    This constitutional measure would amend and re-enact section 5 of Article IV of the North Dakota Constitution and prohibit an individual from serving in the legislative assembly, unless the individual lives in the district from which he or she was selected.

    YES – means you approve the measure summarized above.

    NO – means you reject the measure summarized above.

    Constitutional Measure No. 2

    (Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 4003, 2015 Session Laws, Ch. 499)

    This constitutional measure would amend and re-enact section 24 of Article X of the North Dakota Constitution by depositing 10 percent of the revenue from oil extraction taxes in the common schools trust fund and 10 percent of the revenue in the foundation aid stabilization fund. Except as otherwise provided, the principal of the foundation aid stabilization fund may be expended upon order of the governor, only to offset reductions in state aid to school districts due to a revenue shortage. The measure also would allow the legislative assembly to use any excess principal balance of the foundation aid stabilization fund for education-related purposes whenever the balance exceeds fifteen percent of the general fund appropriation for state aid to school districts for the most recently completed biennium.

    YES – means you approve the measure summarized above.

    NO – means you reject the measure summarized above.

    Initiated Constitutional Measure No. 3

    This initiated measure would add a new section to Article I of the North Dakota Constitution which would provide certain rights to victims of crime in this state, including the right to be treated with respect, to be free from harassment, and to be protected from the accused. The measure would provide for the right to prevent the disclosure of confidential information about the victim; to refuse or limit questioning of the victim; to notice of, and presence at, court proceedings; and to notice of release or escape of the accused. The measure would provide for the right to be heard in court proceedings, to provide information about the impact of the offender’s conduct, and to receive reports relevant to these rights. The measure would provide for the right to restitution from an offender for losses suffered as a result of criminal conduct; to be informed of the outcome of the case and of the detention or other disposition of the offender; and to be informed of, and participate in, post-judgment processes.

    YES – means you approve the measure summarized above.

    NO – means you reject the measure summarized above

    Initiated Statutory Measure No. 4

    This initiated measure would provide for a new veterans’ tobacco tax trust fund in North Dakota Century Code Chapter 37-14 to fund certain veterans’ programs. This fund, among others, would be supported by an increase in the excise tax on cigarettes from 44 cents to $2.20 per package of 20 cigarettes, as well as an increase in the excise tax on cigars from 28 percent to 56 percent of the wholesale purchase price at which the product is purchased by distributors. The excise tax on all other tobacco products is increased a commensurate amount. The measure also would create an inventory tax on cigarettes and tobacco products. All revenues received by the tax commissioner under this measure would be allocated among the state’s general fund, the veterans’ tobacco trust fund, and the community health trust fund. The measure would create and amend provisions in Chapter 57-36, including new definitions for inhalation devices, liquid nicotine, and tobacco products; prohibiting retailers from being distributors and requiring distributors to keep additional records; setting requirements for registration of liquid nicotine retailers; and regulating the alteration of liquid nicotine. Finally, the measure would repeal two provisions of current law related to an excise tax on cigarettes and the exemption for taxes on cigarettes and tobacco products given to occupants of the state’s veterans’ home and the state hospital.

    YES – means you approve the measure summarized above.

    NO – means you reject the measure summarized above.

    Initiated Statutory Measure No. 5

    This initiated measure would add a new chapter to Title 19 of the North Dakota Century Code creating an Act which provides for the medical use of marijuana for defined medical conditions, such as cancer, AIDS, hepatitis C, ALS, glaucoma and epilepsy. To participate in the program, the Act would provide for identification cards and certificates of registration which would be issued by the Department of Health for patients, caregivers and qualified facilities, if all requirements are met. The Act would create provisions for monitoring, inventorying, dispensing, cultivating and growing marijuana to be regulated and enforced by the Department of Health. A qualified patient could be dispensed up to three ounces of usable marijuana, and could grow marijuana if his or her home is located more than 40 miles from the nearest registered facility. For violations, the Act would authorize the Department of Health to provide for corrective action, suspension, revocation, appeal, hearings, and referral for criminal prosecution. The Act would require the Department of Health to submit an annual report to the legislature regarding program statistics.

    YES – means you approve the measure summarized above.

    NO – means you reject the measure summarized above.