BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The North Dakota Democratic Party endorsed Shelley Lenz for governor and four other candidates for statewide office Saturday after holding its convention online because of the coronavirus.
Lenz is a veterinarian who owns practices in Killdeer and Dickinson. She is founder and president of Sustainable Vets International, a nonprofit founded in 2014 that works to provide sustainable economic development in underserved regions of the world.
“In these challenging and uncertain times, it’s imperative that we elect a governor that has decisive leadership to protect all North Dakotans,” said Lenz, who grew up in Ohio and moved to Killdeer in 2017. She will be challenging Republican Gov. Doug Burgum.
The Democrats had planned to meet in Minot over the weekend. Party Chairwoman Kylie Oversen kicked off the virtual convention with a speech carried through a live video feed.
“This has been quite an adventure of a week trying to navigate this new world we’re living in right now, and trying to find ways that we as Democrats, and really as North Dakotans, and Americans can all stay connected during this pandemic crisis and still engage in the business that is required of us,” Oversen said.
Convention participants voted to back Mark Haugen of Bismarck for treasurer; Patrick Hart of Bismarck for auditor; Casey Buchmann of Washburn for public service commissioner; and Travisia Martin of Bismarck for insurance commissioner.
Republicans have dominated statewide offices for numerous election cycles.
Democrats on Saturday also endorsed Zach Raknerud of Minot to run for the U.S. House of Representatives. Raknerud, a retail manager, is seeking the seat currently held by GOP Rep. Kelly Armstrong of Dickinson.
“I’m joining this race because I look out and see a government and an economy that does not have the priorities of working people top of mind,” Raknerud said.
Reps. Ruth Buffalo and Josh Boschee, both of Fargo, were selected as representatives to the Democratic National Committee.