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North Dakota Public Service Commission challenger emerges with 2nd bid

North Dakota Public Service Commission challenger emerges with 2nd bid

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Casey Buchmann

Buchmann

North Dakota voters are likely to see an election rematch for a seat on the state's Public Service Commission.

Casey Buchmann, a union ironworker who lives near Washburn, said Friday he is seeking the Democratic-NPL nomination for the seat on the panel, which regulates utilities.

He would be expected to face Commission Chairman Brian Kroshus, a Republican who won more than 61% of the vote over Buchmann in 2018 for a two-year term on the board. Gov. Doug Burgum had appointed Kroshus to the board in 2017 to fill a vacancy. 

"I just think there's a lot more to accomplish this time," Buchmann told the Tribune. He called the 2018 election "a really good learning curve for me," and said he knows "where I've got to work at now."

He said he believes North Dakotans want political diversity on the commission. Buchmann, a 56-year-old Stanton native, said he brings "a different attitude and mindset than what is on there now."

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"I am actually a person who actually has worked in many of the areas that they regulate," Buchmann said, pointing to his background as a union ironworker for more than 30 years and his work on powerhouses and wind turbines. He lived in the Kansas City area for 22 years and returned to North Dakota in 2007.

Though he is seeking the Democratic-NPL Party's nod for the job, Buchmann said he is not a Democrat, that he is "a Nonpartisan Leaguer." The Nonpartisan League was a populist political party that swept North Dakota in the late 1910s, advocating policies on behalf of frustrated farmers that led to the state-owned Bank of North Dakota and State Mill and Elevator.

"I believe in the Nonpartisan League and ... what it brought and what it will continue to bring to the state of North Dakota," Buchmann said.

North Dakota's Democratic-NPL Party canceled its state convention set for March 19-22 in Minot due to the coronavirus pandemic. Instead the party will hold a virtual convention Saturday to remotely endorse candidates for state and congressional offices.

Republicans hold all state and congressional offices in North Dakota and control its Legislature.

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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