John Hageman covers North Dakota politics from the Forum News Service bureau in Bismarck. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Grand Forks Herald and Bemidji Pioneer.
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BISMARCK — North Dakota lawmakers started wrapping up their interim committee work Wednesday, Nov. 14, but many eyes were on the House majority leader’s office. House Republicans filtered in and out of the office on the sidelines of the chamber floor to meet with their new leader, Carrington state Rep. Chet Pollert. The veteran lawmaker was elected to the post in a three-way race Tuesday night, a week after Fargo state Rep. Al Carlson was ousted from the Legislature after a decade as majority leader.
BISMARCK — North Dakota Democrats made slight gains in the state Legislature Tuesday, Nov. 6, but helped knock off House Majority Leader Al Carlson, setting off an intraparty race for his post. Republicans maintained supermajorities in both chambers as Democrats added at least one and possibly two seats in the state Senate and possibly two in the House. Two races, however, were subject to a possible recount.
BISMARCK — North Dakota Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp apologized Tuesday, Oct. 16, for misusing women’s names in a campaign ad that identified them as victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or rape, a move her Republican opponent Rep. Kevin Cramer criticized as “beyond reckless.”
BISMARCK — Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer raised almost $1.7 million in the third quarter for his Senate bid, according to filings his campaign provided Monday, Oct. 15. Cramer, who's trying to unseat Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, had $1.2 million on hand at the end of September, according to the first few pages of his Federal Election Commission filing. He has raised almost $5 million this election cycle.
BISMARCK — On the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation, where the tribal chairman estimated the unemployment rate sits at 60 percent, $15 could buy a new tribal identification or help pay heating bills through a long North Dakota winter. So amid a multi-year legal and legislative battle over North Dakota's voter ID laws, Chairman Jamie Azure signed an executive order to provide free tribal IDs for a limited time. Demand was so high, he said, the machine overheated and started melting the IDs.
BISMARCK — North Dakota utility regulators agreed Wednesday, Oct. 10, that plans for an oil refinery near Theodore Roosevelt National Park are out of their hands. The Public Service Commission dismissed a complaint filed by environmental groups challenging Meridian Energy Group's plans for a Billings County refinery in western North Dakota. In a unanimous decision, the commissioners sided with an administrative law judge's recommendation issued last month.
BISMARCK — The confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh this weekend continued to reverberate in North Dakota's U.S. Senate race between Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp and Republican Kevin Cramer Tuesday, Oct. 9. National reporters descended on North Dakota in recent days after Heitkamp cast a vote against President Donald Trump's U.S. Supreme Court pick, whose confirmation process was roiled by sexual assault allegations. Kavanaugh denied the accusations, but Heitkamp said she believed the woman who testified before a Senate committee and questioned Kavanaugh's temperament.
BISMARCK — Amid a multi-fronted fight over international trade in the United States, experts said the effect on North Dakota's overall economy and government revenue may be hard to pinpoint. Farmers and business leaders have expressed worry over President Donald Trump's trade moves, including an escalating trade war with China as well as tariffs on steel and aluminum. On Monday, Trump put in place tariffs on another $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, triggering Chinese retaliatory tariffs on $60 billion of American products, the Washington Post reported.
BISMARCK — As the nation turns its gaze toward North Dakota and its pivotal U.S. Senate race, the candidates' campaigns have been inundated with cash from across the country. The race between Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp and Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer has been expected to be the most expensive race in the state's history, given its competitiveness and implications for control of the Senate. Both candidates have leaned on out-of-state sources to fuel their campaigns, a trend that experts say is not out of the norm for such a sparsely populated state.
BISMARCK — A federal appeals court halted part of a lower court's ruling in the long-running battle over North Dakota's voter identification laws Monday, Sept. 24, citing the potential for fraud in the state's elections. In a split decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit suspended a federal judge's April ruling mandating that the state accept IDs and supplemental documentation with a current mailing address rather than requiring a residential street address. The suspension, known as a stay, will be in effect while the court case moves forward.