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Sen. Erin Oban

Sen. Erin Oban, D-Bismarck, shown here as a freshman legislator from the Bismarck area in the 64th legislative session in 2015, opposed a proposed rule change that would restrict public input in some oil and gas proceedings.

The Democratic-NPL Party endorsed candidates for Bismarck-area state legislative races over the weekend, with one district still searching for the right candidates.

Sen. Erin Oban, the only Bismarck Democrat in the Legislature, received the endorsement to seek a second term in the state Senate for District 35.

The Republican Party has yet to announce a candidate to challenge Oban, but she said she’s not taking anything for granted as she campaigns.

District 35 Democrats also endorsed first-time candidates Joe Elsberry and Rachel Thomason for House. Elsberry works for a statewide nonprofit to end hunger in North Dakota, and Thomason is a Bismarck attorney who works to help families adopt children and help aging adults.

They will challenge Republican incumbents Karen Karls and Bob Martinson.

“We're happy to have a full ticket of great candidates,” Oban said of District 35.

District 47 Democrats endorsed Brandi Jude to run for Senate in the only Bismarck legislative race that will not include an incumbent on the November ballot. Sen. Ralph Kilzer, a Republican who was first elected to the seat in 1998, is retiring.

Jude is founder and president of Invisible Innocence, a Bismarck-based nonprofit working to combat human trafficking.

For District 47 House, Democrats endorsed Sabina Gasper, a pharmaceutical executive who is running for public office for the first time.

“My goal is to work for the people of District 47 and ensure that we prioritize their needs and support programs and policies that enable folks to have financial security, educate their children and have housing,” Gasper said.

District 47 leaders are still in discussions with possible candidates for the other House seat, said district chairman Art Hendrix.

District 47 Republicans have endorsed Michael Dwyer for Senate and incumbents George Keiser and Lawrence Klemin for House.

District 7 Democrats have not endorsed candidates and are still looking for candidates who can relate to the different demographics in the district, said district chairman Paul Wilkins.

“We want to make sure we’ve got the right fit for the district,” Wilkins said.

District 7 Republicans endorsed incumbents Nicole Poolman for Senate and Rick Becker and Jason Dockter for House.

The deadline for candidates to file is April 9. If you're unsure what district you live in, go to

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(Reach Amy Dalrymple at 701-250-8267 or