BISMARCK - The field in the North Dakota secretary of state's race solidified Tuesday, Sept. 4, as the office's longtime Republican occupant announced his independent bid was certified for the November ballot.

Al Jaeger, who has been secretary of state since 1993, launched an independent campaign once the GOP-endorsed candidate, Will Gardner, dropped out after his 2006 peeping arrest surfaced. Gardner defeated Jaeger during the Republican convention, but the party has since backed Jaeger with a "letter of support."

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Jaeger needed 1,000 signatures to run as an independent, and he said he was certified last week. Michael Coachman, a previous Republican and independent candidate for lieutenant governor, was also certified to run for secretary of state this year as an independent, Jaeger's office said.

Democratic state Rep. Joshua Boschee of Fargo will round out the candidates for the office, which oversees the state's elections and handles business filings, among other duties.

Also on Tuesday, the state Canvassing Board certified the results of a recent recount that confirmed Libertarian Roland Riemers will not appear on the November ballot for secretary of state. He received 248 votes, one more than he had going into the recount that was ordered by the state Supreme Court, but still fell short of the 300 he needed to extend his campaign.

Riemers said he didn't plan on challenging the recount further.