North Dakota’s statewide ballot will have another open race this cycle. Governor Jack Dalrymple is not running for re-election, no is long-time state Auditor Bob Peterson. Now North Dakota Insurance Commissioner Adam Hamm, a Republican, has decided he’s not running for another term.
Here’s the statement he just sent out:
“After careful consideration, I have decided not to run for a third term as North Dakota Insurance Commissioner. I am deeply appreciative to the people of North Dakota for all their support over the years, and to the outstanding team at the Insurance Department. I look forward to continuing as Insurance Commissioner through the end of 2016 and helping provide a smooth transition for my eventual successor.”
The rumors that Hamm wouldn’t be running again have been circulating for some time. I had asked Hamm in July if he would be running for re-election. “I plan to run next year,” is what he told me at the time.
I guess his plans have changed.
UPDATE: I spoke with Hamm directly about his decision not to run for another term.
“I plan to finish my term,” Hamm told me right off the bat, no doubt because many statewide officer holders in North Dakota tend to step down before their last term is over. Like Hamm’s predecessor Jim Poolman and, most recently, Tax Commissioner Cory Fong.
I asked Hamm what had changed between July, when I asked him if he’d run again, and today when he announced he wasn’t running. “That was about the starting point of the analysis,” he said of me contacting him. “It takes a couple of months to really think through this and figure out if you really want to do it again. When I completely thought it through I figured it was time for someone else to serve in this capacity. I’ll have been in this position for nine years. That’s a lot of time tealing with Obamacare on a daily basis, dealing with fallout from Dodd-Frank which had an impact on insurance. It’s time to let someone else serve.”
Hamm was first appointed to the office to replace Republican Jim Poolman who stepped down in 2007. Hamm won election to the office in 2008 and 2012.
I haven’t heard much buzz on which Republicans might be interested in replacing Hamm.
While Democrats have had some success with the Insurance Commissioner seat in years past, with the party already struggling to fill top-of-the-ticket races like governor and U.S. Senator it may be difficult to fill a down-ballot slot like this one.
If anything, this might actually make Democrat recruitment efforts a little bit more difficult in that it’s another race they have to fill and compete in from their thin, weak bench of potential candidates.