Grabinger takes on Nething in race for N.D. SenateThe District 12 Senate race will likely be a close one if the number of advertisements, billboards and bumper stickers are any indicator. Democratic candidate and former City Council member John Grabinger seeks to upset incumbent Sen. Dave Nething, R-Jamestown. Nething, a 42-year Senate veteran, is the longest continuously serving senator in the Legislature.
By: By Katie Ryan, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
The District 12 Senate race will likely be a close one if the number of advertisements, billboards and bumper stickers are any indicator.
Democratic candidate and former City Council member John Grabinger seeks to upset incumbent Sen. Dave Nething, R-Jamestown. Nething, a 42-year Senate veteran, is the longest continuously serving senator in the Legislature.
The race is one Democrats are watching closely, said Jamie Selzler, state director of the Democratic Party, in hopes Democrats can get a majority of the state’s 47 Senate seats.
Currently, Republicans hold the majority of seats in the state Senate and House and Gov. John Hoeven is Republican as well. U.S. Sens. Byron Dorgan and Kent Conrad as well as U.S. Rep. Earl Pomeroy are Democrats.
Grabinger, who at age 45 has lived three years longer than Nething has served, served for eight years on the Jamestown City Council as well as on the school board at St. John’s Academy.
“They (voters) can expect the same determined, common-sense approach that they saw in the City Council,” he said.
A Jamestown native, Grabinger owns Grabinger Marine, north of town, which offers a different perspective for various Senate issues, Selzler said.
Grabinger’s experience on the City Council is different from serving in the Senate, said Gary Emineth, chairman for the North Dakota Republican Party.
Aspects of North Dakota like its economy, work force and education system are strong, Emineth said, and part of that is due to Nething.
“Why would you not want to bring him (Nething) back to support the people?” Emineth said.
Selzler disagreed, saying more could be done to lower property taxes, reform health care and raise teacher salaries.
“David Nething has not been willing or able to solve those problems,” he said.
Nething, a retired lawyer, said he has worked to bring about change and reform.
“That’s where I think my strongest asset has been,” he said.
Some of his accomplishments include acting as chief sponsor of a telecommunication regulatory reform bill that made it easier for new products to be bought and sold within the state and rewriting a water law that now ensures each community can obtain clean water, Nething said.
“Those are things that I really look back on with pride,” he said.
The candidates vary in terms of experience, but as far as issues, the two share some similarities.
Both candidates feel one of the biggest issues in the upcoming Legislature is property taxes and property tax relief. Both support “No” votes for Measure 1 (the establishment of a permanent oil trust fund) and Measure 2 (50 percent income tax cut for individuals and 15 percent for corporations).
Early voting is available at the Stutsman County Courthouse and from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Civic Center on Nov. 4.
Sun reporter Katie Ryan can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org