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ND Secretary of State Jaeger may have Republican challenger

Secretary of State Al Jaeger gestures while testifying on a bill at the North Dakota Legislature. File photo by Tom Stromme / Bismarck Tribune1 / 2
Will Gardner, chairman of the North Dakota District 34 Republicans. Courtesy photo.2 / 2

BISMARCK -- An intraparty race for North Dakota Secretary of State may be in the works.

Will Gardner, chairman of the District 34 Republicans, is scheduled to address a committee of the North Dakota Republican Party later this month in Minot as a “candidate for Secretary of State,” according to an agenda obtained by Forum News Service. That would set up a challenge to the longtime Republican incumbent Al Jaeger, who said Monday morning, Dec. 4, he planned to run again. He was first elected in 1992.

“I have a solid record,” Jaeger said. “We have a lot of exciting things going forward in terms of things that I want to get accomplished in the office, and that’s what I’ll be concentrating on. I’m not going to be concentrating on what somebody else may want to do.”

Gardner said he hasn’t made a formal announcement but acknowledged he’s been thinking about a run for some time. Gardner is the chief information officer of Mandan-based First Court, Inc., which provides jury research to law firms and insurance carriers.

The Secretary of State is the state’s chief election officer. The office is also responsible for licensing contractors, registering lobbyists and charitable organizations, and it maintains records on various businesses.

Jaeger garnered more than 62 percent of the vote in a three-way race with Democrat April Fairfield and Libertarian Roland Riemers in 2014.

John Hageman

John Hageman covers North Dakota politics from the Forum News Service bureau in Bismarck. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Grand Forks Herald and Bemidji Pioneer.  

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