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New ND Secretary of State candidate pledges to improve technology in office

Will Gardner announced his candidacy for secretary of state at a press conference on Friday. Gardner plans to challenge incumbent Al Jaeger at the upcoming North Dakota Republican convention. Tom Stromme / Bismarck Tribune

MANDAN, N.D.—Mandan resident Will Gardner, 41, is seeking the Republican nomination for the office of North Dakota Secretary of State.

On Friday morning, at Taco Del Mar in Bismarck, Gardner announced his candidacy, explaining to about a dozen attendees the changes he would bring to the office.

Gardner's platform consists of offering more online services, ensuring a fair and accurate election process and bringing a new energy to the office.

As the former District 34 chair, Gardner said he started to hear of issues regarding the secretary of state's office in terms of the pace that business registrations were being processed.

"That's why I'm here today at a business like Taco Del Mar that wants to actually focus on their business and their growth and not have to worry about registering and finding a fax machine when you want to renew your registration. Or finding a fax machine when you want to start a new business or mail it in," Gardner said.

The father of seven works as a partner in a jury research company, First Court in Mandan. During his announcement, Gardner explained he took the company from a primitive state to an innovative company today.

"I feel that now is the right time for my skills and the needs of the office to have new ideas and move the office into a more tech-friendly, user-friendly system that saves our state money because we can harness the power of technology," said Gardner, who also has a real estate business with his wife, Laura.

"The options are there for any individual to do what he's doing," said Al Jaeger, the current North Dakota Secretary of State about Gardner's bid.

"I'll talk about my own qualifications and why I'm seeking re-election of secretary of state and I'll have a formal announcement about that in the next couple of weeks," Jaeger said.

Gardner added that he appreciates the past duties and responsibilities of Jaeger, but the changing times needs someone in the office that can deliver technology and quicker services.

The state GOP convention takes place April 6-8 in Grand Forks.

To learn more about Gardner, visit