Earlier this month a Grand Forks woman was found dead in her home with her three children. A law enforcement investigation later revealed that the woman, Astra Volk, had killed her children and then herself . Now we learn that Volk purchased the gun used to kill herself and her children from a pawn shop the day before.
On my radio show Monday, as I discussed Republican Will Gardner's departure from the Secretary of State race, I tried to remember the last time a Democrat had won an election for an executive branch office North Dakota. I couldn't do it. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp was the last Democrat to win a statewide election for federal office, having earned her first term back in 2012. Former Congressman Earl Pomeroy won re-election to the U.S. House in 2008.
Over the weekend Republican Secretary of State candidate Will Gardner ended his campaign after a bombshell report in the Fargo Forum detailing a disorderly conduct conviction for some very creepy behavior on the NDSU campus back in 2006 .
UPDATE: Gardner has withdrawn from the race, though as I note below I don’t believe he can get his name off of the primary ballot at this time.
MINOT, N.D. — Recently, incumbent Sen. Heidi Heitkamp accused North Dakota lawmakers of working to suppress the votes of college students and Native American citizens. The State of North Dakota has been, despite legal challenges, largely successful in implementing a strong ID requirement at the ballot box while closing a loophole which let thousands of voters cast ballots which count with only an affidavit in previous elections. But Heitkamp charges that these efforts were inherently nefarious.
It’s obvious to any honest observer that talk radio host Joel Heitkamp operates the radio station he manages as a de facto media arm for his sister Senator Heidi Heitkamp’s re-electon campaign. This includes the male Heitkamp acting as a surrogate for the Senator and attacking her critics. Including, most recently, me. The Washington Free Beacon had a story yesterday about that situation.
For more than two weeks now a container of grenade rounds has been missing in western North Dakota. It fell of a vehicle from the Minot Air Force Base. There is a reward on offer for anyone finding the container.
MINOT, N.D. — North Dakota State College of Science President John Richman has long been desirous of further expanding his campus from Wahpeton, where it is mandated by the state constitution to reside, into Fargo. Many, including this observer, feel the hiring of former state lawmaker and current Fargo City Commission member Tony Grindberg to work at NDSCS was a part of Richman's campaign. That the Flint Group, a firm which employs Grindberg's wife, was hired to consult on the expansion also seems something more than coincidence.
There is a feud on-going between University of North Dakota President Mark Kennedy and Engelstad Family Foundation trustee Kris Engelstad McGarry. For those of you who don’t know, the foundation is a major donor to UND. Their gifts have included the Ralph Engelstad Arena and the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. But right now the foundation and the university aren’t getting along.
Publicly Senator Heidi Heitkamp likes to cultivate for herself a reputation as a pragmatic centrist. In fact, that’s the theme of her most recent radio ad (which hits the airwaves today, I posted the audio on Friday ).