Gary Emineth is back in. Sort of.

After exiting North Dakota's U.S. Senate race last month, the former state Republican party chair and businessman said Tuesday he has turned his attention to a state Senate seat representing Bismarck; specifically, that held by Democratic incumbent Erin Oban, who is seeking re-election to a second four-year term.

Emineth addressed some legislative topics but said he'll identify issues as his campaign unfolds. For now, he's seeking the District 35 Republican endorsement.

"I think state spending needs to be put in check a little bit," said Emineth, adding that such issues as property taxes, growth of government and supporting state employees also need to be addressed.

"We need to support our state employees and people that work for the state government and give them the necessary tools," he said, also describing Oban's voting record as "pretty liberal."

Oban said she stands by her voting record and added she's made bipartisan efforts and has sought to set an example for children and political observers.

"I am tired of partisan rhetoric and bitter partisanship," she said. "I am happy to run on my record. I believe I am most in touch with the people in my district."

Emineth said he initially considered the state Senate race before his brief U.S. Senate run, as district leadership told him in early January the slot was open. Then Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., initially declined to challenge Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, leading Emineth to consider the larger race, he said.

He said he opted out of the federal race after hearing of Cramer's reverse decision last month to run against Heitkamp.

Five Republicans and three Democrats now crowd the House race for Cramer's seat.

Reach Jack Dura at 701-250-8225 or