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Poll floats North Dakota lawmaker as candidate for Fargo mayor

The 28-question survey obtained by Forum News Service gauged respondents' interest in the prospect of state Rep. Shannon Roers Jones running for mayor of North Dakota's largest city and billed the Republican lawmaker as a champion of law enforcement, fiscal responsibility, tax reduction, criminal justice reform and term limits.

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Rep. Shannon Roers Jones, R-Fargo, presents a bill to the House Judiciary Committee on Feb. 16, 2021. Jeremy Turley / Forum News Service

BISMARCK — An online poll that circulated over the weekend suggests North Dakota Rep. Shannon Roers Jones could be considering a run for mayor of Fargo, though the Republican lawmaker declined to comment on the survey or whether she plans to join the race for the position.

The 28-question survey obtained by Forum News Service gauged respondents' interest in the prospect of Roers Jones running for mayor of North Dakota's largest city and billed the lawmaker as a champion of law enforcement, fiscal responsibility, tax reduction, criminal justice reform and term limits. The survey's positive portrayal of Roers Jones defines it as a "push poll," a tool often used by political strategists to promote a candidate or idea under the pretense that respondents are filling out an opinion poll.

The poll asked respondents whether they would be more or less likely to support Roers Jones' candidacy after reading statements like "Shannon Roers Jones believes in holding government accountable and treating taxpayers like customers."

Other statements on the survey disparaged current Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney , portraying him as a "reckless spender" and a "career politician" who cost the city thousands of dollars in a court case over whether he could run for reelection. A North Dakota district court judge ruled last month that Mahoney can run for another four-year term in the June 2022 city election.

Mahoney, who has said he plans to run next year, did not respond to a request for comment.

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Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney speaks about the importance of the Great Plains Food Bank at a press conference for the annual Fill the Dome food drive on Nov. 22, 2021, at the Fargodome. Alyssa Goelzer / The Forum
Forum Communications Co.

The survey also asked respondents for their thoughts on City Commissioners Arlette Preston and Dave Piepkorn as possible mayoral candidates.

One poll question painted Roers Jones as having a tight working relationship with Republican Gov. Doug Burgum, noting that "as Mayor, Shannon would continue to partner with Burgum to unlock Fargo’s unlimited potential."

A campaign spokesman for Burgum said the governor had no hand in the poll and does not typically make endorsements in local races.

After Forum News Service contacted Roers Jones on Monday afternoon, a link to the survey began returning a result that reads "This survey is currently closed. Please contact the author of this survey for further assistance."

Roers Jones was first elected to the North Dakota House of Representatives in 2016 from a south Fargo district that also twice elected her father, Jim Roers, to the state Senate. Roers Jones works as an attorney, having earned a law degree from the University of North Dakota.

If elected as mayor, Roers Jones could legally continue serving in the Legislature if she so chooses, said Legislative Council Director John Bjornson.

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An online push poll supporting North Dakota Rep. Shannon Roers Jones' possible candidacy for Fargo mayor included critical comments about current Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney. The survey was taken offline Monday, Dec. 6, 2021. Screenshot via surveymonkey.com

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