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House leader Carlson to seek re-election next year

House majority leader Rep. Al Carlson (R-Fargo) outlines details of an amended lease agreement between North Daktoa State University and Sanford Health on Apr. 12, 2017, in the state capitol in Bismarck. Tom Stromme / Bismarck Tribune

BISMARCK — The top Republican in the North Dakota House will run for re-election next year, four years after he was bested a Democratic newcomer.

House Majority Leader Al Carlson, R-Fargo, told Forum News Service Wednesday, Nov. 8, he is undeterred from the 2014 election results, in which Democratic Rep. Pamela Anderson was the top vote-getter in their south Fargo district. She ousted Republican Bette Grande in that race.

"But now (Anderson) has what everybody else has, and that's a voting record," Carlson said.

Carlson said this year's legislative session, in which lawmakers cut general fund spending by more than 28 percent amid sharp reductions in tax revenue, "shows that we lived within our budget."

"And I think it shows that North Dakotans, we balance our budget, we don't spend more money than we have," he said.

Carlson has been in the House since 1993. He ascended to the majority leader post in 2008.

Carlson was behind several major pieces of legislation this year, including a new voter ID law and a resolution opening the door to off-reservation casinos in North Dakota. The House defeated the latter proposal.

A re-election campaign fundraiser for Carlson, hosted by North Dakota Petroleum Council President Ron Ness and Odney President Pat Finken, is being held in early December in Bismarck, according to a flier obtained by Forum News Service.

Anderson said she plans to run again next year, adding that she's "hopeful" Democrats in the minority here could make gains after the party found success elsewhere Tuesday. She said Carlson could be vulnerable in the general election.

"I plan to be the No. 1 vote-getter again," Anderson said.

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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