Republican Insurance Commissioner to run unopposed after opinion issued from the Supreme Court

Local News

Republican Insurance Commissioner Jon Godfread will run for re-election unopposed this November.

That’s the result of a newly issued opinion from the North Dakota Supreme Court.

The Democratic-NPL party filed a petition on Monday with the court to get Fargo insurance agent Jason Anderson on the ballot after the court ruled the party’s initial nominee, Travisia Martin, was not eligible.

But the court on Friday said that Secretary of State Al Jaeger, “does not have a duty to certify a new nomination” based on the conditions of the case.

That means no Democrat will appear on the ballot in November to challenge the Republican incumbent.

Chief Justice Gerald VandeWalle dissented, stating he would “err on the side of placing a candidate’s name on the ballot when ambiguity exists in a statute,” which he says occurs in Section 16.1-11-18(6)(d), N.D.C.C.

VandeWalle’s full dissent says:

“I respectfully dissent. Section 16.1-11-18(6)(d), N.D.C.C., provides a
vacancy can be filled if a candidate “[c]eases to be qualified to serve, if elected,
as otherwise provided by law.” I believe the use of the term qualified in
subdivision (6)(d) is ambiguous and a reasonable interpretation is that Martin
was qualified when she was placed on the primary ballot by the Secretary of
State. She subsequently ceased to be qualified when we determined she was
not eligible to hold the office of insurance commissioner in our prior case. I
would err on the side of placing a candidate’s name on the ballot when
ambiguity exists in a statute. Therefore, I dissent.
Gerald W. VandeWalle”

The Democratic-NPL Party sent a short statement on the decision, saying they “agree with Chief Justice Gerald VandeWalle, the longest-serving chief justice in the state’s history, in his dissent.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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