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Godfread to announce GOP run for ND insurance commissioner post

BISMARCK - A lobbyist for the Greater North Dakota Chamber who led the charge against two statewide ballot measures in recent years is making a run for state insurance commissioner.

Jon Godfread. Photo via ND Chamber
Jon Godfread. Photo via ND Chamber

BISMARCK – A lobbyist for the Greater North Dakota Chamber who led the charge against two statewide ballot measures in recent years is making a run for state insurance commissioner.

Jon Godfread of Bismarck, vice president of government affairs for the chamber, will announce his candidacy during news conferences Wednesday in Bismarck and Fargo.

The 33-year-old said he hadn't considered running until Insurance Commissioner Adam Hamm announced in mid-December that he will step down after nine years when he completes his second term this year.

Through his work at the chamber, Godfread said he has seen how rising insurance premiums affect both consumers and businesses. He said he's worked closely with Hamm and businesses to make sure changes in insurance laws are understood.

"I've got the unique experience of working on all those issues from a business and consumer standpoint, and I think that's what you want as an insurance regulator," he said.


Born in Bismarck, Godfread moved to Grand Forks at age 5 and graduated from Red River High School. He received a degree in business administration in 2004 from the University of Northern Iowa, where he played basketball.

He worked for Alerus Financial from 2005 to 2007, taking a nine-month leave of absence to play professional basketball in Germany. He received a law degree and master's in business administration from the University of North Dakota in May 2011 and started working for the chamber that August. He also interned for the state tax commissioner's office in 2009 and 2011.

Godfread - who at 6-foot-11 is hard to miss in the Capitol hallways - hasn't run for political office before, though he was one of three finalists for tax commissioner in 2013. Gov. Jack Dalrymple ultimately appointed Ryan Rauschenberger to the post.

In 2012, Godfread chaired the opposition to Measure 2, an unsuccessful ballot measure aimed at eliminating property taxes. He also spearheaded the fight in 2014 against a failed ballot measure that would have dedicated millions of dollars in oil tax revenue for conservation projects.

"I've got a good feeling of what it takes to run a campaign and what goes into it," he said.

So does his wife, Amanda Godfread, director of strategic engagement at Bismarck-based Odney, a frequent consultant to GOP campaigns.

Jon Godfread said the couple, who have a 1-year-old son and a 3-month-old daughter, will keep working their days jobs and run his campaign "in the limited free time we have."

The state GOP will endorse candidates at its statewide convention in Fargo.


The Democratic-NPL Party has no declared candidates for insurance commissioner. Libertarians have endorsed Nick Bata of Fargo for the office.

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