MANDAN, N.D. (KXNET) — Mandan Area Republicans have named Justin Gerhardt to the Senate seat that was left open after the tragic death of Senator Doug Larsen along with his wife Amy and sons Christian and Everett in a plane crash in Utah. State law requires that the Party Executive Committee name a replacement within 21 days.  

“We are all still grieving, so we are doing our best to balance honoring Doug’s memory and service while fulfilling our responsibility to the law and the citizens of District 34,” said Cody Schulz, District 34 Republican Chairman. “I am so thankful we have a passionate and dedicated executive committee that ensured the appointment process was done professionally and respectfully.” 

The executive committee appointed Justin Gerhardt to fill the seat for the remainder of the term that expires in 2024. Justin and his wife of nineteen years, Maren, have four children ages eight to seventeen. Justin served nine years in the North Dakota Army National Guard and was deployed in support of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom. He is also active in the community, serving as a volunteer youth coach, on his church finance council, as president of the Knights of Columbus, and supporting numerous conservative causes. Justin is employed as a project manager with Bismarck based construction company Northwest Contracting. 

“We are incredibly fortunate to have someone like Justin with strong conservative values and a proven track record of community service willing to step up and serve,” said Schulz. 

“I’m extremely saddened by the tragedy that brought us to this point, but incredibly honored for this opportunity to serve the people of Mandan,” said Senate Appointee Justin Gerhardt. “I am stepping into big shoes, filling the seat of Doug Larsen, and Dwight Cook before him. They both prioritized engaging with and listening to the residents of District 34 and I will work hard to live up to that legacy.” 

District 34 legislative seats will be on the ballot in the 2024 election cycle and District 34 Republicans will hold a nominating convention early next year to endorse candidates for the Senate seat and two House seats.