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2nd Republican seeks outgoing Democrat's Bismarck-area Senate seat

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Bismarck's District 35 Senate race has another contender.

Republican Ryan Eckroth announced his bid Tuesday for the seat held by outgoing Sen. Erin Oban, Bismarck's only Democrat in the Legislature. She is not running for a third term, citing an erosion of civility in politics.

Eckroth was the station manager for Delta and United Airlines at the Bismarck Airport for 10 years until he left last year to complete his bachelor's degree in business management from Colorado Technical University.

He is completing his master's in business management from CTU, from which he also has an associate's degree in marketing.

He calls himself "a moderate Republican" who will support "increased community health and safety while striving to support personal freedoms," as well as "equal educational opportunities for all children through equal availability of learning resources and fiscal responsibility of our state allocation of federal funds."

"Over the last several years we have seen the struggles between individuals as well as between government entities regarding our personal and public health as well as community safety," Eckroth said in a statement. "As a senator, I will strive to keep our community safe while maintaining our personal freedoms. Whether discussing education, health, or public safety, everything ultimately comes down to finance. Proper allocation of state funds is necessary in order to continue to strengthen these systems and I will see that these views are acknowledged."

Republican Sean Cleary, a project manager for National Information Solutions Cooperative, also is running for the Senate seat.

The last District 35 Senate race, in 2018, was the most expensive legislative race that year. Oban defeated former state Republican Party Chairman Gary Emineth.

Democrats will be defending all but one of their seats in the Legislature this year -- a daunting situation for the party in deeply Republican North Dakota. 

District parties will hold conventions throughout early 2022 to endorse legislative candidates.

Ninety-eight seats in the Legislature are on the ballot this year, more than is usual due to redistricting, which is done every 10 years with new census data.

Republicans control the House of Representatives 80-14 and the Senate 40-7.

Reach Jack Dura at 701-250-8225 or jack.dura@bismarcktribune.com.

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