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LaMoure state’s attorney subject of recall

LaMoure County State’s Attorney Tonya Duffy is the subject of a recall effort as recall supporters claim she has not treated her constituents fairly.

Lee Ann Oliver, elections specialist with the North Dakota Office of the Secretary of State’s elections division, said the recall petition of Duffy was approved Tuesday. The reasons stated on the recall petition are for “lacking the competency and demeanor to hold the office of the State’s Attorney and that she has neglected to properly perform the duties of the LaMoure County prosecuting attorney.”

Oliver said committee members need to collect 541 signatures from county electors, which is 25 percent of the 2,165 votes cast in the county in the last gubernatorial election.

Attempts to contact Duffy for comment Friday afternoon were unsuccessful.

Jay Cink, chairman of the recall sponsoring committee, said committee members want to collect 600 signatures from county electors over the next three to four weeks.

“We want to make sure we have more signatures than we need,” he said.

Once the signatures are gathered, the LaMoure County Auditor’s Office has 30 days to review the validity of the signatures. A special election could be held between 95 and 105 days after the signatures are approved, or the election could be part of a general election occurring during that time period, according to the secretary of state’s office.

Cink said the main reason people are seeking Duffy’s recall is that they feel she doesn’t treat her constituents fairly.

“My own personal opinion is she picks and chooses who she will treat well,” he said. “You have to treat your constituents fairly.”

Verleen Shear, a recall committee member, said people have also been concerned about the work Duffy has done as the LaMoure County state’s attorney. According to minutes from the LaMoure County Commission meeting on March 21, Michael Dahlen, LaMoure, father of Joshua Dahlen, 25, who was killed in a drunk-driving crash in LaMoure County January 2016, said he was at the meeting to ask Duffy to resign as the county’s state’s attorney. According to the minutes, “Mr. Dahlen stated that he did not feel that Ms. Duffy represented his son’s death to the best of her ability.”

According to Southeast District Court records, Roddy Gentzkow Jr., 21, LaMoure, was sentenced for manslaughter in a plea agreement reached with Duffy on Jan. 18. Gentzkow Jr. was drunk when the crash happened, according to court records. He is currently serving a year in the North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and has an estimated release date of Nov. 25, 2017. He was also sentenced to three years of supervised probation after serving time in the state prison.

According to The Edgeley Mail, another request for Duffy’s resignation was brought to the LaMoure County Commission at its April 18 meeting. The commission placed the matter on its May 2 meeting agenda.

Chris Olson

Hometown: Traverse City, MI College: Northwestern Michigan College and Michigan State University

(701) 952-8454
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