Conley defeats Grabinger for District 12 Senate seat

Cole Conley
Cole Conley

District 12 will send an entirely Republican delegation to the North Dakota Legislature this winter. Cole Conley defeated Democratic incumbent John Grabinger by 56% to 44% after the unofficial vote tally issued Tuesday evening.

Conley thanked the voters of Jamestown for their support and the "District 29 folks for helping me understand how to campaign." He also credited Grabinger for his service to the community.

"I appreciate the fact that District 12 supported me for eight years," Grabinger said. "I wish my opponent the best."

Grabinger was first elected to the North Dakota Senate in 2012 and served as the Senate assistant minority leader. Prior to his service in the Legislature, he served on the Jamestown City Council.

Bernie Satrom was reelected to his District 12 House of Representative seat with 31.6% of the unofficial vote Tuesday night. He will be joined in the House by Mitch Ostlie who picked up 30.7% of the vote. They defeated Democratic challengers George Barnes, who picked up 16.9% of the vote, and Pam Musland, who gathered 20.4%


Ostlie had been appointed to the District 12 House seat when Jim Grueneich moved out of the district and is now elected to his first term.

"Kind of overwhelmed at this point but excited," Ostlie said. "Thankful for the great team I had to run with."

Satrom said he was humbled and would continue to work for the district.

"We had a good team with Grueneich," he said. "This team will be even better."

Musland said she was disappointed with the results.

"Tomorrow I will wake up in a community I care very much about," she said. "There are a lot of ways I can make a difference."

The unofficial vote results reported Tuesday night included all votes cast at the Jamestown Civic Center and by the early voting and absentee voting process. It could change as additional absentee ballots arrive at the Stutsman County Courthouse prior to the canvassing board meeting Nov. 9 and are postmarked prior to the election.

Legislators take office Dec. 1. The North Dakota Legislature will convene for its biennial session in January.

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