BISMARCK — A Minot Democrat says he will try to reach North Dakota voters with a populist message as he runs for the state's lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Zach Raknerud, 26, filed the necessary paperwork on Saturday, Jan. 25, to start his campaign for the seat currently occupied by first-term Republican Rep. Kelly Armstrong, who is seeking reelection in 2020.

The native of Northwood, N.D., said he wants to run a policy-driven campaign to address the needs of working people in the state. Raknerud said special interests and wealthy individuals have dominated the policy priorities of the federal government for too long. He also advocates for medicare expansion and the forgiveness of student loan debt.

Raknerud said he was confident he could secure the Dem-NPL endorsement at the party's convention in March. No other Democratic candidates have declared in the race, but Raknerud said he expected a challenger. He also said he would support the party's endorsed candidate if it's someone else.

The new campaign's fundraising effort has just begun. Raknerud said he said he will seek small donations from working people and reject corporate money funneled through Political Action Committees. The incumbent, Armstrong, has a massive advantage in campaign funds, with nearly $190,000 on hand as of September 2019, according to Federal Election Commission records.

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Raknerud previously ran for the state House of Representatives in Minot but was soundly defeated by Republicans Scott Louser and Jay Fisher. Raknerud received a communications degree from the University of North Dakota and has worked in retail since graduating.