North Dakotans narrow U.S. House race in Tuesday’s primaries – Grand Forks Herald

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GRAND FORKS – A seven-way race for North Dakota’s U.S. House of Representatives seat will soon be shortened as voters will decide on Tuesday, June 11, which finalists will advance to the November general election.

Five candidates are vying for the Republican nomination and two are seeking the Democratic nomination during the primaries. Voters will be able to vote in the Republican primaries or the Democratic primaries. This is the first time in 34 years that both parties have had competitive primaries at the same time; it is one of the most competitive primaries since the current seat was created in 1972.

The seat has no incumbent, as the current holder, Rep. Kelly Armstrong, is running to become the next governor of North Dakota.

In the Republican primaries there is:

  • Alex Balazs, a military veteran from Cando who has said he can be the unifying candidate for the party. Balazs received the NDGOP’s endorsement during its April congress. Balazs has served in the Air Force, Navy and Army National Guard and says these experiences set him apart as he is the only candidate with federal experience.

  • Rick Becker, former state lawmaker from Bismarck and founder of the far-right Bastiat Caucus. Becker is a plastic surgeon and businessman who has led an effort to eliminate property taxes in the state through a constitutional amendment. He has said he represents the grassroots, non-establishment side of state Republicanism. Becker has been ineligible for Republican endorsement since running as an independent against Sen. John Hoeven in 2022. Becker has been endorsed by conservative members of Congress such as Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, and Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Florida.

  • Julie Fedorchak, member of the Public Service Commission and president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners. She has said she can be the leader North Dakotans want in this seat. Fedorchak has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump, Senator John Hoeven and Governor Doug Burgum. The only candidate to win statewide office, she has received at least 65% of the vote in her last three elections to the Public Service Commission. She lives in Bismarck.

  • Cara Mund, an attorney based in Bismarck and former Miss America. Mund previously ran for this seat as an independent against Armstrong in 2022. She declared her candidacy on the last day of her candidacy, saying none of the other candidates represented her position. Mund has said she is pro-choice and that the other candidates are too dependent on Trump’s opinions.

  • Sharlet Mohr, of Williston. Mohr previously lost a special election for a spot on the Williston School Board and has kept a low profile throughout the race, not attending any of the debates. Mohr is active in the Moms for Liberty group, a conservative group that advocates against school curricula that mention LGBT rights, race, ethnicity and discrimination.

According to a North Dakota News Cooperative poll, 28% of voters were undecided on a candidate. In that poll, Fedorchak received 32% of support, Becker 25%, Mund 10%, Balazs 5% and Mohr less than 1%.

In the Democratic primaries there is:

  • Trygve Hammer, a former Marine and District 5 chair of the Democratic-NPL party who works as a career coach in Minot. Hammer served in Iraq, worked as a roughneck in the Bakken oil fields, was a high school teacher and a train conductor. He has said his life experiences are more similar to those of average North Dakotans, compared to all other candidates. His campaign goes beyond winning the seat; it’s also about rebuilding the Dem-NPL party and making it a more competitive political force in the state.

  • Roland Riemers, a multiple candidate for numerous elected offices in the state, including Grand Forks County Sheriff, Grand Forks School Board and several other statewide offices.

The candidates who win their party’s primaries will advance to the November general election. The winner of the general election will represent the state in the House of Representatives, earn $172,000 a year and stand for re-election in 2026.

More information about how to vote and sample ballots can be found on the North Dakota Secretary of State’s website, vote.nd.gov.

Matthew Voigt

Voigt covers city government in Grand Forks and East Grand Forks.