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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BISMARCK — Susan Bala filed a lawsuit against the state of North Dakota last week alleging it wrongfully declined to renew a license for her off-track horse race wagering business more than a decade ago, marking another turn in her legal saga. The complaint against the state and its Racing Commission was filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court Friday, Feb. 16 and seeks a "judgment in an amount to be determined at trial." It estimated Racing Services Inc. lost $30.8 million in value and profits since the 2004 license denial.
BISMARCK—Former North Dakota Congressman Rick Berg won't run for his old seat, he said Friday, Feb. 23. Berg hadn't ruled out a House campaign in recent days, but the Republican said in a text message Friday he "will be supporting candidates rather than being one." He served one term in Congress before a narrow loss to Democrat Heidi Heitkamp in the 2012 U.S. Senate race. Rep. Kevin Cramer announced last week he would challenge Heitkamp, opening up his seat to Republican hopefuls.
BISMARCK—Kelly Armstrong made his run for the U.S. House official Thursday, Feb. 22, marking the second North Dakota Republican state lawmaker to seek Rep. Kevin Cramer's seat. Armstrong, a state senator, attorney and businessman from Dickinson, N.D., publicized his entrance into the race during a few appearances across the state Thursday after resigning as state party chairman this week. His announcement came just days after Cramer said he would run for the U.S. Senate in an effort to unseat Democratic incumbent Heidi Heitkamp.
BISMARCK—The North Dakota higher education board voted Thursday, Feb. 22, to allow North Dakota State University to retain a law firm to defend against a construction lawsuit. Roers Construction, the general contractor for the $29.4 million A. Glenn Hill Center, claimed it accrued added costs because of delays it blamed on poor designs. It also complained of "acceleration costs" when it had to rush the project's completion before a dedication ceremony in December 2015. Roers is seeking $1.3 million.
BISMARCK—North Dakota legislative leaders have asked the state's chief information officer to stop reorganizing his department and implementing other initiatives until lawmakers are briefed on the plans. But Chief Information Officer Shawn Riley said Wednesday, Feb. 21, some of the lawmakers' concerns may be based on misunderstandings.
BISMARCK — North Dakota Republican state Sen. Kelly Armstrong has filed paperwork to run for Congress. The Federal Election Commission filing came days before a planned announcement Thursday, Feb. 22. A Facebook page includes a logo with "United States Congress" under Armstrong's name. Armstrong, a Dickinson attorney, resigned his position as North Dakota Republican Party chairman Tuesday. Armstrong would be running for Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer's seat. The third-term congressman said last week he would challenge Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp.
BISMARCK—North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum's office said Tuesday, Feb. 20, it didn't originally disclose the full amount the first-term Republican reimbursed to Xcel Energy for his Super Bowl trip because the initial questions surrounded the cost of the game tickets, not other related events. Burgum's spokesman Mike Nowatzki originally said the governor reimbursed the utility $37,000 for his and his wife's Super Bowl tickets. But an open records request by the Associated Press later revealed Burgum also paid roughly $2,500 for events related to the Feb. 4 game.
BISMARCK—A leader in the effort to raise North Dakota's oil tax said Monday, Feb. 19, they're not moving forward with a ballot measure this year. Former Democratic state lawmaker Ed Gruchalla said the effort lacked backing from any "major groups" and faced fierce and well-funded opposition from the oil industry. He said the proposal could come back in a future election or during the next legislative session. "We know it takes money to win (an) initiated measure," Gruchalla said. "We just don't have the funding right now."
BISMARCK—Former North Dakota Republican Party Chairman Gary Emineth said Monday, Feb. 19, he won't run for the U.S. House this year. Emineth considered running for Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer's seat now that the congressman has decided to challenge Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp. Emineth dropped his own Senate bid last week to make way for Cramer. Cramer's announcement also prompted Republican state Sen. Tom Campbell to switch from the U.S. Senate race to the House contest. Several other Republicans have at least expressed interest in that seat as well.
BISMARCK—Rep. Kevin Cramer's decision to enter North Dakota's U.S. Senate race this year has prompted several Republicans to at least express interest in his House seat, shaking up the contest less than two months before the party's state convention. Grafton state Sen. Tom Campbell endorsed Cramer's Senate run Friday, Feb. 16, and said he would launch a House bid. Campbell had been campaigning for Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp's seat since August, but Cramer is seen as the Republicans' best shot at winning the Senate race.