Burgum wants state’s high court to settle appointment flap

Local News

FILE – In this April 10, 2020, file photo, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum speaks at the state Capitol in Bismarck, N.D. Burgum will face Democratic gubernatorial candidate Shelley Lenz in the Nov. 3, general election. (Mike McCleary/The Bismarck Tribune via AP, File)

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum wants the state Supreme Court to decide a dispute over his appointment to fill a legislative seat won by a dead man.

Burgum filed the lawsuit Thursday with the state’s high court.

David Andahl won the District 8 seat in the Nov. 3 elections even though he died Oct. 5 from coronavirus complications. Burgum appointed Washburn coal executive Wade Boeshans to the slot in Andahl’s place.

But Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem contends only the legislative branch has the authority to fill the vacancy.

Andahl and fellow District 8 House candidate Dave Nehring won the Republicans’ endorsements and voters’ nominations in the June primary. Nehring and Andahl were top vote-getters for the two open House seats this month over a pair of Democratic candidates in the sprawling rural district north of Bismarck.

Andahl and Nething knocked off one of North Dakota’s most powerful lawmakers, Republican Rep. Jeff Delzer, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee in the June primary. Burgum gave more than $1.8 million to a political action committee that targeted Delzer, who had clashed with Burgum over policy and spending priorities throughout the governor’s first term.

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