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Nolan Canright

Nolan Canright announced his plans to run for Burleigh County Sheriff in front of a room full of supporters at a Bismarck hotel on Thursday. 

Another announced candidate for Burleigh County sheriff says the race will be among the top in the state this year.

Former Bismarck Police Sgt. Nolan Canright announced his candidacy Thursday, telling gathered supporters he had successfully submitted his petitions to be on the ballot. He joins Burleigh County Chief Deputy Kelly Leben as the only announced candidates in the first contested race for Burleigh County sheriff since 2010.

“Every race should be challenged. I think we get better candidates involved and we get a better product when there’s competition,” Canright said of the race.

In his announcement, Canright advocated safety measures for schools relating to shootings, targeting distributors of illegal drugs and taking specific efforts to recruit and retain officers through colleges and universities.

Canright drew upon his law enforcement family life and his police career, including time as a K-9 handler, promising to build partnerships with residents, schools and businesses, if elected.

“We’re not going to neglect any area of Burleigh County,” he said.

Canright also said “a sheriff race is very complicated for the people that are working currently at the county,” and that he won’t hold political differences against anyone.

“What I want to clear up right now, if elected as your next sheriff, everybody currently working at the Burleigh County Sheriff’s Office will remain working at the Burleigh County Sheriff’s Office,” he said, also commending the current deputies and staff.

Canright also expressed enthusiasm to campaign and a desire to return to law enforcement. In 2014, he left the Bismarck Police Department for the private sector.

When asked why he chose to run for sheriff rather than apply for retiring Bismarck Police Chief Dan Donlin’s position, Canright said he likes to be politically involved and felt sheriff would be a better fit for what issues he would like to address.

“A sheriff just kind of had a better ring to it, politically,” he said. “As you’re going through elections in every four years, if you’re not doing a good job, you might be out of there, so I really liked the ring to the sheriff.”

Burleigh County’s 2018 sheriff’s race will be a long campaign and “a big race,” he added.

“I’m guessing, statewide, it’s going to be a top five, top 10 race to watch,” Canright said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

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Crime and Courts Reporter