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  • North Dakota Primary Election Recap

  • North Dakota Primary Election Recap

    North Dakota Primary Election Recap

    The North Dakota primary election was held on Tuesday, June 14. The contest saw a large number of challenges to incumbent legislators, and also circumstances where a current legislator looked to move to a different chamber from where they are currently serving.  The redistricting process that took place in 2021 after the decennial census created several situations where incumbent legislators were drawn into the same district, causing a higher-than-normal number of districts to hold elections this year.  Of North Dakota’s 47 legislative districts, 35 have legislative elections in 2022.


    Below is a summary of the major contests – complete election results are available from the North Dakota Secretary of State.


    DISTRICT 3: Former Rep. Roscoe Streyle, who previously served as a member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, looked to return to the legislature without seeking his district party’s endorsement by directly running in the primary.  He currently is a single vote shy of reaching the general election ballot, trailing current Rep. Jeff Hoverson. The narrow margin will trigger an automatic recount. First time candidate Lori VanWinkle was the top vote getter.

    DISTRICT 8: A contest between two current House members vying for an open Senate seat was won by Rep. Jeffrey Magrum, defeating Rep. Dave Nehring.

    DISTRICT 9B: Longtime House member Rep. Tracy Boe lost a primary challenge to newcomer Jayme Davis.

    DISTRICT 15: In the House race, Rep. Dennis Johnson won the nomination for one of the district’s two seats. Rep. Greg Westlind was defeated by Kathy Frelich for the district’s other seat. Sen. Dave Oehlke also was defeated in his quest for another term. Judy Estenson will represent the GOP in the November election.

    DISTRICT 20: Incumbent House members Reps. Jared Hagert and Mike Beltz both won nomination to the two seats, while Sen. Randy Lemm defeated Sen. Robert Fors for the Senate nomination.The two incumbents were placed in the same boundaries after legislative redistricting.

    DISTRICT 28: In the Senate race, incumbent Sen. Robert Erbele overcame a challenge in the from of Rep. Sebastian Ertelt, who joined the district after the 2021 redistricting process. Additionally, incumbent Rep. Mike Brandenburg will return to the legislature, along with former Rep. Jim Grueneich, who formerly served from District 12 (Jamestown area)

    DISTRICT 31: In a major upset, long-time House Appropriations Committee Member Rep. Jim Schmidt lost to 18-year-old Dawson Holle. Current Rep. Karen Rohr retains the Republican endorsement for the district’s other House seat.

    DISTRICT 33: In a widely observed contest, incumbent Sen. Jessica Bell (who failed to secure her district party’s nomination to run for re-election to her seat) lost to challenger Keith Boehm.  Also in this district, long-time House Appropriations Chair Rep. Jeff Delzer was defeated in a five-candidate race.  Incumbent Rep. Bill Tveit and political newcomer Anna Novak secured the Republican nomination for the November election.

    DISTRICT 35: In the District 35 Republican Primary Election race for a Senate seat vacated by the resignation of incumbent Democratic Sen. Erin Oban, Sean Cleary defeated Ryan Eckroth (Cleary was widely viewed to be the party favorite). Cleary will face off against Democrat Tracy Potter in the General Election, who currently holds the district’s seat (Potter previously served in the Senate, and was appointed to fill the remainder of Oban’s term).


    STATEWIDE: In statewide races, incumbent United States Sen. John Hoeven easily survived a GOP primary challenge from oil field worker Riley Kuntz. In the Democratic-Non Partisan League (Dem-NPL) column, University of Jamestown professor Katrina Christiansen won the nomination for Senate over small business owner Michael Steele.


    For the open position of Secretary of State, state Rep. Michael Howe handily won the Republican nomination. He was challenged by automotive service advisor Marvin Lepp. Howe will face Dem-NPL nominee Jeffrey Powell in the November general election.


    Drew Wrigley (former United States Attorney and former Lt. Governor) – who was appointed to the position of Attorney General earlier this year after the passing of AG Wayne Stenehjem – was unopposed in the primary. Wrigley will go on to face Dem-NPL candidate Tim Lamb this fall.


    Republican Tax Commissioner Brian Kroshus was unopposed in the primary, and does not face a Democratic opponent in the general election. Public Service Commissioners Julie Fedorchak and Sheri Haugen-Hoffart (both Republicans) were unopposed. Fedorchak will face Dem-NPL candidate Melanie Moniz this fall, and Haugen-Hoffart will see Trygve Hammer as her Democratic opponent in the general election. Finally, incumbent GOP Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring was not opposed within the party. He goes on to face Dem-NPL nominee Fintan Dooley this November.


    Municipal general elections also took place in several large North Dakota cities on Tuesday. In Fargo - North Dakota’s largest city – Mayor Tim Mahoney held off a challenge in a seven-candidate race for the position. In Bismarck – North Dakota’s capital city –political newcomer Michael Schmitz ousted incumbent Mayor Steve Bakken in his bid for a second term. Minot Mayor Shawn Sipma lost his quest for a second term in a three-candidate race to Thomas Michael Ross. In West Fargo, Mayor Bernie Dardis was unopposed for his second term in office.


    Written by: Primacy Strategy Group


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