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Democratic candidate for North Dakota secretary of state emerges

Grand Forks resident Jeffrey Powell, an administrator at Mayville State University, announced his candidacy on Monday just hours before the filing deadline for candidates.

Jeff Powell.jpg
Jeffrey Powell, an administrator at Mayville State University, is running for North Dakota secretary of state as a Democrat.
Submitted photo

BISMARCK — A Democratic-NPL candidate for North Dakota secretary of state has come forward just hours ahead of the filing deadline for candidates looking to appear on the June primary ballot.

Grand Forks resident Jeffrey Powell, an administrator at Mayville State University, petitioned the Democratic-NPL to endorse his run for the office on Monday, April 11. The party's executive committee was expected to grant Powell the endorsement before the filing deadline at 4 p.m. Monday.

Powell said in a news release his campaign will focus on "competence, economic growth and protecting voters’ constitutional rights." He charged national Republicans with chipping away at Americans' voting rights and accused North Dakota Republicans of trying to suppress votes.

"We’re going to work every day to convince North Dakotans a Democrat is the right person to ensure fair elections and protect voters’ rights," Powell said. "We need a leader who wants your ballot to count and will work to protect your rights.”

Powell holds a doctorate degree in higher education from the University of Northern Colorado and worked in a variety of roles at the University of North Dakota before moving to Mayville State in 2015.

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Two Republicans — Casselton state Rep. Michael Howe and Bismarck auto service adviser Marvin Lepp — have already declared their candidacies for the office. Howe won the GOP endorsement earlier this month, but Lepp has turned in the requisite signatures to Secretary of State Al Jaeger to appear on the June primary ballot with Howe.

The Democratic-NPL, which holds no statewide offices and just 15% of the seats in the state Legislature, has struggled to recruit candidates for major races this year. With Powell on the ticket, the party nearly has a full slate of contenders for the eight statewide and congressional races on the November ballot, though no Democratic candidate for tax commissioner has emerged.

Jeremy Turley is a Bismarck-based reporter for Forum News Service, which provides news coverage to publications owned by Forum Communications Company.
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