Could Weather Factor Into Who Republicans Choose as Secretary of State Candidate?


TOM STROMME/Tribune Secretary of State Al Jaeger gestures while testifying on a bill to designate the capitol's Memorial Hall into state statute with that official name. Jaeger was testifying in front of the the House political subdivisions committee on Wednesday morning.

So far this morning delegates here at the NDGOP convention have dealt with endorsements in mostly uncontested races.

Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem both won their endorsements unopposed.

Congressman Kevin Cramer, meanwhile, ended up being endorsed for the U.S. Senate race unanimously when his announced opponent Thomas O’Neill failed to make the stage when additional nominations were called for.

That changes this afternoon, however. The hotly contested U.S. House race which features no fewer than six candidates currently – state Senator Kelly Armstrong, state Senator Tom Campbell, Marine veteran Tiffany Abentroth, and Minot residents Paul Schaffner, DuWayne Hendrickson and Charles Tuttle – will be presented to delegates.

It’s tomorrow’s contested race, however, that most delegates are talking about during the lunch break.

Incumbent Secretary of State Al Jaeger is facing a challenge for the party endorsement from Mandan businessman Will Gardner. Their vote will happen tomorrow, but with winter weather in the forecast for a big chunk of the state this weekend there is some question as to how many delegates might stick around until Sunday.

Depleted delegate counts could swing the race, though it’s hard to say in which direction. Both Jaeger and Gardner come from the Bismarck area, but Jaeger (in office since 1992) is definitely the better known of the two across the state. If western North Dakota delegates go home, that could hurt Gardner.