Jeff Olson with North Dakota Election Results
by Jeff Olson
President/CEO
11/4/2020

As of this writing, we still don’t know who will be in the White House for the next four years. But then again, this is 2020 and nothing should surprise us these days.

Let’s start with the North Dakota legislative results. One would think that with an overall 116 to 25 seat Republican advantage in both chambers that the North Dakota Democratic Party came into the night with an optimistic outlook of shrinking the massive Republican majority in both the Senate and House. Basically, the Democrats had nowhere to go but up. Well, that didn’t happen. In fact, believe it or not, the Republicans increased their advantage.

In the North Dakota Senate, the Democrats lost 3 of their more experienced leaders. Most notably was the loss of longtime Senator Larry Robinson in District 32 (Valley City), whose 32-year hold on that senate seat may be gone as he lost to newcomer Mike Wobbema by 124 votes. In District 26 in South Central ND, Senator Jim Dotzenrod (D), Wyndmere, lost to Jason Heitkamp by 400 votes. Dotzenrod had served in the Senate since 2008. In Jamestown’s District 12, Senate Minority Leader John Grabinger lost to Cole Conley by 707 votes. The Democrats did manage to retain their hold on north Fargo District 44, where Senator Merrill Piepkorn beat back a challenge from former longtime senator Tim Flakoll. However, at the end of the day, it was the Republicans that picked up 3 senate seats giving them a 40 to 7 advantage in the chamber heading into the 67th Legislative Session this coming January.

In the House, there were also some close and contested races, particularly in the Grand Forks and Fargo districts where races tend to flip on occasion. However, the Democrats did lose another experienced legislator in District 24 as Representative Naomi Muscha, incumbent, lost her seat to Republican Dwight Kiefert, an incumbent, and Cole Christensen in a race that wasn’t even close.  

In some of the more contested races the Republicans held on to their seats in District 18 and District 42 (Grand Forks), and District 16 (West Fargo/South Fargo). The Democrats held on to their seats in District 44 in Fargo where minority leader Joshua Boschee and assistant minority Karla Rose Hanson both won.

In District 18, Grand Forks, Steve Vetter (R), and Corey Mock (D), both held on to their seats. In Grand Forks District 42 (this is the district that includes UND), Emily O’Brien, incumbent, and newcomer Claire Cory won in a contested race. In District 16, which covers parts of south Fargo and West Fargo, Incumbents Ben Koppelman and Andrew Marschall won in another contested race. Overall, the Republicans gained one seat and will have a 94-14 majority in the next session.

In North Dakota’s lone congressional race, Congressman Kelly Armstrong (R) won easily with 70 percent of the vote and Governor Burgum (R) and Lt. Governor Sanford won with 65 percent of the vote.

 

 

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