Senator Joe Miller Stepping Down May Set Up Nomination Fight In District 10

Republican tate Senator Joe Miller of Park River, who represents District 10 in the northeast part of the state, announced that he won’t be seeking re-election in 2016.

Miller has served in the Senate since first getting elected to public office in 2008. You can read this press release below.

What’s interesting is that the vacancy Miller leaves behind may set up a nomination fight in District 10.

In the 2012 cycle Miller and former state Senator Curtis Olafson, both incumbents at the time, were forced to square off when redistricting eliminated a legislative district in northeast North Dakota leaving one Senate seat and two Senators. The competition was a contentious one with Miller ultimately coming out on top.

Now Janne Myrdal, a socially conservative activist from the area who backed Miller in 2012, says she plans to announce a campaign for the Senate seat after the holidays. The question is, will Olafson run again?

“I’ll be making a final decision on that soon,” Olafson told me this afternoon, adding that he had “no other comment” on the matter.

I’m told that others may be seeking the nomination as well, and certainly District 10 has seen its share of turmoil over the last year. Back in May Paul Henderson, the district chairman, told me he was ready to sue the North Dakota Republican Party over their handling of a disputed reorganization.

One of those who made a complaint to the NDGOP over Henderson’s handling of the reorganization? Olafson.

Most races for the state legislature are pretty boring to people living outside of the districts, but the one shaping up in District 10 promises to be worthy of statewide attention.

UPDATE: Per the comments from former NDGOP chairman Bob Harms below, I’ve corrected the post to indicate that Olafson was not the first to complain to the party about the District 10 reorganization.

 

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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