BISMARCK — The North Dakota Libertarian Party has endorsed candidates for governor and lieutenant governor.

The party endorsed DuWayne Hendrickson for governor and Josh Voytek for lieutenant governor at its state convention in Bismarck on Saturday, March 14.

Hendrickson, a Minot resident, ran unsuccessfully for governor as an independent in 2008. He has also sought the Republican endorsement for the state's lone U.S. House several times in the past decade.

Voytek, a Fargo restaurant manager, is also the party's treasurer and has previously been its nominee for Public Service Commission and lieutenant governor.

Party Chairman Dalton Brown said the party endorsed Hendrickson and Voytek because "they're dead set on returning small government and giving more power back to the people of North Dakota." He also said the candidates were willing to show up and do the work it takes to run a campaign.

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Brown said Hendrickson is a supporter of eliminating property taxes, free-market capitalism and the legalization of marijuana.

Current Gov. Doug Burgum and Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford announced last year they will run for reelection in 2020. Democratic-NPL candidate Shelley Lenz, who has not yet chosen a running mate, is the only other announced candidate for the state's highest political office.

The party lost its ballot status in 2018 after its only candidate on the statewide primary ballot failed to receive 300 votes. That candidate was current Democratic-NPL U.S. House candidate Roland Riemers, and he was then running for secretary of state.

The party submitted enough signatures to regain ballot status earlier this year, but a statewide candidate from the party must receive 300 votes in this year's primary and 5% of the vote in November's general election to retain the status. Brown said he's confident Hendrickson and Voytek will deliver that result for the party.

Though the party originally expected 50 people to attend the party's convention, only about 15 showed up, which Brown attributes to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.

The party also endorsed Mattie Richardson-Schmitz of Sheldon to run for state representative in District 26, which lies in the southeast part of the state. Brown said the party is still recruiting candidates for other statewide offices.