Despite endorsement loss, top North Dakota lawmaker plans primary run

Delzer

A powerful, longtime North Dakota lawmaker who lost his party's endorsement for reelection is planning to proceed to the June primary ballot.

District 8 Republicans on Tuesday endorsed newcomers David Andahl and Dave Nehring for House. Coming up short were Rep. Jeff Delzer, R-Underwood, chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, and candidate Bob Wheeler, an Underwood-area farm and ranch employee.

Delzer, a farmer, has served in the House from 1991 to 1992 and since 1995.

He told the Tribune on Thursday that he plans to run in the June 9 primary, when voters will determine nominees for the Nov. 3 general election.

"It was good to a see a good turnout with a lot of new people," Delzer said of the district convention. "I was disappointed I didn't get the endorsement, and frankly I think it's a big enough issue that I do plan to go to the primary because I think the whole district should have the opportunity to vote on that."

He said he has "some thoughts" about why he might have lost the endorsement but declined to "share them publicly."

Delzer said this is the first time he has not received an endorsement, but the second time he'll face a primary challenge -- the first in 1994.

Wheeler also has said he'll run in the primary, setting up a four-way Republican race for June. Only two of the candidates will proceed to the November ballot.

The district party endorsed Sen. Howard Anderson Jr., R-Turtle Lake, for another term.

Democratic-NPL District 8 Chairwoman Kathrin Volochenko also is running for a House seat and looking for other Democrats to complete the ticket.

District 8 encompasses a large area of the center of the state north and east of Bismarck.

The deadline to file for the June 9 ballot is April 6.

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