North Dakota GOP to bring legal challenge against insurance commissioner candidate
BISMARCK — North Dakota's Republican Party announced Tuesday, June 23, it will launch a legal challenge against Travisia Martin, the Democratic-NPL candidate for state insurance commissioner, alleging she does not meet the requirements for candidacy. Martin disputes the claim.
The state insurance commissioner must be a North Dakota resident for at least five years before being elected. Secretary of State Al Jaeger, a Republican, stated in a letter to Martin that he had received information that she was still a registered voter in Nevada and had voted there in the 2016 election, meaning she would not be an eligible candidate.
It "appears you may not have met the required five-year residency requirements,” Jaeger wrote in his letter to Martin sent last month. “Therefore, I am requesting you provide relevant information regarding your status as a resident of North Dakota for the required five years.”
Martin disputed the claim, citing that she and her husband have been living in North Dakota since 2015, said Doree Henry, Martin's campaign manager, in an email to The Forum earlier this month.
Jaeger said in an email to The Forum that he received a response with documents from Martin on Friday, June 19.
"The NDGOP kicked off what they’re calling a ‘truth-finding mission’ by either failing to check a basic fact or by blatantly lying about Travisia’s response," Democratic-NPL spokesperson Alex Rohr said in a statement Wednesday, June 24. "That’s despicable."
Jaeger does not have the authority to remove Martin from the Nov. 3 ballot and said in an email earlier this month that he can only do so if Martin declines the state insurance commissioner nomination or if he was directed by a third-party lawsuit to do so.
The North Dakota GOP did not elaborate on what its legal challenge would entail.
"It is unacceptable that both a prospective constitutional office holder and the North Dakota Democratic-NPL that backs her would show such a blatant disregard for the North Dakota Constitution throughout this process," GOP Chairman Rick Berg said.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Michelle Griffith, a Report for America corps member, at firstname.lastname@example.org.