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North Dakota Democrats short of candidates for Legislature

April 14, 2022 GMT

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota Democrats lack candidates for 15 state House seats and three seats in the state Senate, and Republicans have been unable to recruit candidates for a House seat and Senate seat in the state’s biggest city of Fargo, secretary of state filings show.

Late Monday was the deadline for candidates to file with the state secretary of state’s office for the June primary election. The flurry of last-minute filings delayed the review of candidates’ petitions for about two days.

North Dakota has 47 legislative districts. Each is represented by two House members and a senator.

Republicans already hold 80 House seats to Democrats’ 14, and have 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.

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Democrats have just 45 legislative candidates, or 78 fewer than Republicans.

Republicans were unable to recruit a Senate candidate for Fargo’s District 11 seat, a traditionally Democratic stronghold held by Tim Mathern who has represented the city since 1987.

The GOP also lacked a House candidate for Fargo’s District 21, another Democratic stronghold.

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. It still lacks a candidate for tax commissioner, filings show.

Convention endorsements guarantee candidates a place on the June primary election ballot and party support against any challengers.

It is still possible for Democrats to fill the legislative openings by conducting June primary write-in campaigns for each open spot. A candidate would have to get about 130 write-in votes in each district to run as a Democrat in the general election. The number of needed votes varies by district.