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North Dakota District 33 candidates emerge; Delzer to run again

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Several Republicans have announced their plans to run for state legislative seats in a district that encompasses the heart of North Dakota's coal country.

Bell

Bell

Sen. Jessica Unruh Bell of Beulah will face a challenge from Keith Boehm, a farmer and small business owner who lives northwest of Mandan. They both seek the Republican nomination for District 33's Senate seat.

Unruh Bell has served in the Senate since 2012 and chairs the Senate Finance and Taxation Committee. She also holds a leadership position on the 17-member Legislative Management.

Unruh Bell has been a leader on energy and agricultural issues, according to a statement announcing her reelection plans. She works as an environmental manager for the North American Coal Corp.

Boehm recently retired after 42 years with Minnkota Power in Center, including nine years in management. He runs a family farm with his children. He also has over 25 years of experience as a part-owner and financial manager of the Flying J Travel Center west of Mandan.

Keith Boehm

Boehm

Boehm said in a statement that he will address issues of "high property taxes and maintaining property rights," and that he "intends to protect the families, livelihoods, and liberties of all North Dakotans."

He also said he sees "how the parents of North Dakota are facing ever-growing challenges with preserving parental rights and providing children with a safe and productive learning environment."

District 33 comprises Mercer and Oliver counties and parts of McLean and Morton counties.

Delzer, Tveit running

Longtime Rep. Jeff Delzer, R-Underwood, intends to seek the District 33 Republican nomination.

Delzer

Delzer

Redistricting, done every 10 years with updated census data, moved him from the old District 8 to 33. Delzer, who is a farmer, chairs the powerful House Appropriations Committee.

In 2020, he lost the Republican primary to two newcomers endorsed by Gov. Doug Burgum, who gave more than $1.8 million to a political group run by former advisers that successfully targeted Delzer's seat. Delzer and Burgum, both Republicans, have sparred over budget issues.

In October 2020, nominee David Andahl died from COVID-19, but his name remained on the ballot after his death, and he won a House seat. Burgum sought to appoint a successor, and a three-way legal fight played out in front of the state Supreme Court.

In the end, District 8 Republicans appointed Delzer to the seat. In response to the fallout, the 2021 Legislature passed a law for filling seats of dead election victors.

Delzer was first elected to the Legislature in 1990.

District 33 Rep. Bill Tveit, R-Hazen, also has announced his reelection plans.

Tveit

Tveit

Tveit, a retired farm equipment dealer, was first elected in 2018 and has served on the House Human Services and Agriculture committees the past two legislative sessions. He is now vice chair of the interim Natural Resources Committee and serves on the interim Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.

Tveit is the former chairman of the Mercer County Commission.

District 33 Republican Chairman Fred Stern said the district's Republicans plan to hold their endorsement meeting on Feb. 16.

Ninety-eight seats in the Legislature are on the ballot this year, more than is usual, due to redistricting.

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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