Organizer Behind Blue Laws Ballot Measure Not Ruling Out a Run for Seat in Battleground Legislative District

Simply Made Apps is a fast-growing app developer with offices in downtown Fargo. Bill Burgess, left, and Brandon Medenwald, right, founded the company. Also pictured is Stephen Ruda, who develops apps for Android devices. Dave Olson / The Forum

During the legislative session earlier this year our lawmakers narrowly rejected a bill reforming the state’s so-called “blue laws.”

The “blue laws,” for those of you not in the know, are those archaic laws prohibiting some businesses from opening before noon on Sundays.

In response to the legislature’s failure to act, Fargo businessman Brandon Medenwald vowed an initiated measure campaign. And he’s followed through. A campaign he organized is currently collecting signatures for a ballot measure aimed at repealing the blue laws (more info on that here).

But his entry into North Dakota politics may not stop there. I have been hearing Medenwald’s name in the rumor mill about a possible run for the Legislature, and when he was on my radio show yesterday to talk about the net neutrality issue (he is a founder of Simply Made Apps) I asked him about it.

“It’s not that I’d say I’d rule in or out a run…but I do think the Legislators we have in Bismarck could use some fresh blood. There’s no doubt about that,” he added. “There are a lot of people who could use a boot.”

“I have talked to some people about it, but I currently don’t have any plans necessarily,” he told me.

He lives in Fargo’s District 41 which is going to be something of a battleground this cycle. Four years ago Democrats succeeded in knocking off Republican incumbent Representative Bette Grande in that district, and they nearly defeated House Majority Leader Al Carlson as well.

Carlson is seen as extremely vulnerable this cycle. Could Medenwald challenge him?

That depends on which political party he’s a candidate for.

“That’s a good question,” Medenwald said when I asked him about his partisan affiliation. “I think I’ve been labeled as all three. I’ve been labeled as a Democrat, a Republican, and a Libertarian because of my views on the blue laws.”

“It’s not that I’d say I’d rule in or out a run…but I do think the Legislators we have in Bismarck could use some fresh blood. There’s no doubt about that,” he added. “There are a lot of people who could use a boot.”

Medenwald would no doubt be a target for recruitment by Democrats desperate to gain some ground in the Legislature. After getting slaughtered at the polls in 2016, Democrats hold just 13 of 94 seats in the state House and just 9 of 38 seats in the state Senate.

But Republicans are anxious to keep their Majority Leader in the House from going down to ignominious defeat and will likely make their own overtures.

Here’s the full audio of our interview:

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and the host of the Rob (Re)Port on Fargo-based WDAY AM970 from noon-2pm weekdays.

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