Fargo commission candidate fundraising makes it most expensive in recent campaigns

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FARGO — The two incumbents in the six-person race for the Fargo City Commission have raised the most money so far in their campaigns.

City Auditor Steve Sprague said the nearly $30,000 raised by candidates so far makes it one of the most expensive campaigns in recent years.

Other totals in recent city commission races were $16,100 in 2014; $5,900 in a special election in 2015; $20,575 in 2016; and $20,700 in 2018.

In 2018, three city commission candidates were fined $100 for missing a deadline to file their campaign finance reports.

Although incumbent John Strand has raised $12,549 and Tony Grindberg, also seeking his second term, has collected $11,100, two of the other candidates — Doug Rymph and Ritchell Eve Aboah — haven't reported raising any funds.


The next largest fundraising total was from former city commissioner Arlette Preston who had $5,425 in her campaign coffers.

Edward Krystosek's report shows he has raised $825, although none of his contributions were over $200 so the individuals contributing weren't listed. Sprague said in the final 40 days of the campaign only $500 contributions need to be reported to his office.

The current numbers were from Jan. 1 when candidates could begin to file for office to near the end of April.

More than half of Strand's and Grindberg's contributions were from persons who gave under $200.

The list of big donors includes state legislators, a former mayor and out-of-state residents contributing.

Strand's largest contributions came from friends Leland Swanson of Fargo and Don Kadlec of Pisek, N.D. He had several relatives also give $300 or more.

Grindberg's largest contributor was lawyer and family member Jon Strinden of Fargo, who gave $1,000. Roers Development officials were also big contributors with company president Larry Nygard giving $500 and company owner Jim Roers, a Republican state senator, donating $250. Grindberg considers the big contributors as friends, too.

Preston's largest contributor so far was former Moorhead Mayor Del Rae Williams, who gave $750. Williams also gave $500 to Strand's campaign coffers.


State Rep. Pamela Anderson, D-Fargo, donated $250 to Preston. Preston said she considers her major donors friends, including Williams whom she has known for years.

In the three-person race for two seats on the Fargo Park Board, there were no reports of any contributions for incumbent Jerry Rostad and candidates Dawn Morgan and Rick Graalum. Rostad raised $14,000 when he first ran four years ago.

The lone municipal judge candidate, Steve Dawson, also didn't report raising any funds.

The city election is part of the June 9 voting where residents will also cast mail-in ballots in a statewide primary, for school boards and to narrow county commission districts to two candidates for the November election.

For the first time, the city will have a novel approval voting system, where residents can simply vote for as many candidates as they want with the top two vote-getters winning. City residents overwhelmingly approved the novel voting system in 2018.

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