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Jaeger, Mock face off in secretary of state race

North Dakota's secretary of state race has generated more buzz than usual this election season, something incumbent Republican Al Jaeger attributes to a "quite aggressive" campaign by Democratic challenger Corey Mock.

He said the charges Mock has raised this year haven't been easy to respond to, making it a "challenging" campaign as Jaeger runs for a sixth term in the office he's held since 1992.

"His very quick partisan sound bites have been very challenging," he said. "We have answers for every one of them, but they're not easily explained in five or six words."

Mock, a native of Minot who moved to Grand Forks in 2003 to attend UND, has represented District 42 in the North Dakota House since 2008.

During the campaign, he's brought up several examples of what he calls "mismanagement" in the secretary of state's office.

But he said one instance that "raised a lot of red flags" was Jaeger's actions after his office misplaced paperwork filed by Joshua Voytek, the Libertarian public service commissioner candidate. The mistake caused the candidate to not be listed on the June 8 primary ballot, but Voytek will be included on the Nov. 2 ballot.

Jaeger said his staff handles "literally thousands of details," but occasionally, "something gets missed."

Jaeger said he discussed the incident with legal counsel, and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem indicated there would be no need to do anything further.

Ryan Johnson writes for the Grand Forks Herald