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Bismarck Democrat announces bid for North Dakota treasurer

Bismarck Democrat announces bid for North Dakota treasurer

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While awaiting results Tuesday for North Dakota's Democratic presidential caucuses, a Bismarck Democrat announced his bid for North Dakota treasurer.

Democratic-NPL District 32 Chairman Mark Haugen told the Tribune that he will run for the state office. He planned a formal announcement for Thursday in Bismarck.

"After a phone call from the state party, they asked me to consider a run for state treasurer. After consulting with my family, we're throwing our hat in the ring," Haugen said.

Republican State Treasurer Kelly Schmidt is not seeking a fifth four-year term, telling the Tribune in December "it's just time for a new chapter." She has served since 2005.

Haugen said he is concerned about millions in oil tax revenue he described as "misallocated" from three state constitutional funds.

The 2019 Legislature moved to address the issue, backfilling a state school aid fund with $64.37 million in Legacy Fund earnings and increasing by 0.5% the oil tax allocation to a fund for water projects and programs until it's repaid $128.74 million. Another fund for school aid was not specifically addressed for repayments in a bill for clarification on the oil tax allocations.

Schmidt said her office sought clarification from the Legislature in previous years, and she cited a 2012 email from an assistant attorney general that "told us to continue doing what we were doing until we got clarification of the law." 

Haugen, 58, works for the University of Mary as a graduate student adviser. He's a past president of the North Dakota EMS Association. He mounted unsuccessful bids for state House in 1996 and 1998 and state Senate in 2000.

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Two Republican state lawmakers are seeking the party's endorsement for the office: Rep. Thomas Beadle of Fargo and Rep. Dan Johnston of Kathryn.

North Dakota's Democratic-NPL Party meets March 19-22 in Minot for its state convention to endorse candidates. The GOP meets March 27-29 in Bismarck for its state convention.

North Dakota's treasurer is custodian of the state's funds and sits on several state boards. The treasurer's annual salary is $107,885. It's set to go to $110,582 on July 1.

The deadline is April 6 to file for the June 9 primary ballot, when voters determine nominees for the Nov. 3 general election.

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

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