Two Fargo Republican Legislators Announce They Won't Be Running For Re-Election

Two Fargo-area Republican legislators – Senator Tony Grindberg and Rep. Joe Heilman – have announced that they won’t be running for re-election in 2014.

Grindberg is the double-dipping former NDSU employee and, it could be said, leader of the “Bison Caucus” in the legislature.

An interesting bit of trivia that’s apropos of nothing: Both Grindberg and Heilman are employees of Appareo Systems, an alumnus of the NDSU Technology & Research Park which Gindberg used to head up.

“My plans are to remain involved with strategic community-based initiatives that I know can positively impact our community by using my public service experience and leadership skills,” Grindberg said in a press release. He’s beein the state Senate since 1992.

More surprising, perhaps given that he’s only 29 years old, is Heilman’s decision. Many in political circles have seen him as a rising star, but he missed a lot of legislative days during the session last year due to health issues. Maybe that’s the reason, but others tell me it has more to do with his career.

The four months required to attend the legislative session in Bismarck every two years, plus time spent campaigning, attending to constituents and interim duties, is a major commitment. Which is why most state legislators are either retired, self-employed or rich.

I thought this tweet from Democrat state Rep. Ben Hanson, who seems to concede that Democrats probably can’t pick up these seats and is thus hoping that Republicans find replacements that are sort of Democrat-y in their outlook.

In related news, former state legislator and Democrat US Senate candidate Tracy Potter has announced that he’ll be taking on incumbent Republican Senator Margaret Sitte in Bismarck’s District 35. Potter ran against Sitte previously in 2006 and edged out a victory by like 50 votes. Democrats have been targeting Sitte, an outspoken social conservative, for a while now.

Update: Rep. Hanson says he wasn’t conceding anything, and that Gindberg/Heilman resignations are due to extremism of the NDGOP:

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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