Voters to select District 12 legislators

John Grabinger
John Grabinger

The race for the District 12 seats in the North Dakota Legislature includes some veterans and some relative newcomers to the political arena.

District 12 includes all of Jamestown except the southwest portion along with a rural area north of Jamestown between N.D. Highway 20 and the Jamestown Reservoir. Voters will elect one senator and two representatives to four-year terms.

John Grabinger, the Democratic incumbent for the Senate seat, is in his seventh election cycle. He was defeated once and successful twice in races for the Jamestown City Council. He lost his first bid for a seat in the North Dakota Senate by 8 votes to incumbent Republican Dave Nething in 2008 after a recount. He was successful in bids for the Senate in 2012 and 2016.

"It's changed," Grabinger said. "Sorry to say this has become the nastiest campaign I've been involved in."

His Republican challenger for the District 12 Senate seat is Cole Conley, who ran unsuccessfully in 2004 for the North Dakota House of Representatives.


Bernie Satrom was first elected to the North Dakota House of Representatives in 2016 and is seeking reelection.

Satrom said the inability to go door-to-door campaigning has made communicating with the public more difficult.

"When I run into people they seemed to want to visit," he said.

Mitch Ostlie was appointed to a seat in the North Dakota House of Representatives in February when Rep. Jim Grueneich moved out of the district. He is seeking his first term in the Legislature. Ostlie was elected to the Jamestown Public School Board in 2000 and unsuccessfully ran for the Jamestown Parks and Recreation Commission in 2018.

Democratic challengers for the District 12 House seats are Pam Musland and George Barnes.

Musland was elected to the Ashley School Board in 1993 and unsuccessfully ran for the District 12 House of Representatives in 2016.

Barnes previously ran for the District 12 Senate seat in 2004.

North Dakota has 47 legislative districts with all even-numbered districts on the ballot this election cycle. Legislators take office on Dec. 1 with the legislative session beginning in January 2021. The positions pay $495 per month plus a per diem of $177 per day when the Legislature is in session.


For updated election information and results, go to

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