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Sand announces bid for House, potentially setting up rematch with Pomeroy

UPDATED 11:50 p.m.

Sand

UPDATED 11:50 p.m.

FARGO - Republican Duane Sand announced his candidacy for North Dakota's U.S. House of Representatives seat today, potentially setting up a rematch of his 2004 race against incumbent Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D.

Speaking to reporters at the Fargo Air Museum, Sand criticized the current Congress for its actions, or lack thereof, on issues including energy development, the farm bill, illegal immigration and the war in Iraq. He blasted Congress for what he called a "corrupt culture" of pork-barrel spending.

Sand said Pomeroy has been in Congress 16 years, "and he has been a part of the system which is broken."

"It's time for a change of leadership," Sand said. "If we have a broken Congress, we need new people in Congress with new ideas who are not more concerned about their re-elections as they are helping people in North Dakota."

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Sand said "a lot has changed" since 2004, when he received 40 percent of the statewide vote to Pomeroy's 60 percent.

A commander in the U.S. Naval Reserves, Sand spent a year in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005. He criticized Congress Thursday for voting to withdraw troops in the midst of the troop surge and said the United States should fight terrorists wherever they are in the world.

"We are winning the war in Iraq," he said.

When he returned from Iraq, Sand said he got back in touch with North Dakotans while touring the state as state director of Americans for Prosperity, a group that supports less government regulation and lower taxes and spending. Sand is taking an unpaid leave of absence from his role with the group.

Sand said he wants to run a positive campaign. Thursday was the launch of his fundraising campaign in North Dakota, but he said he has raised more than $500,000 from 9,000 donors across the country. He said that while he knows he won't raise as much money as Pomeroy, he hopes to raise about $1.5 million.

"This time we're going to have the resources to make this race not only competitive, but one that we can win," he said.

Sand also lost a 2000 Senate race, garnering 39 percent of the vote to incumbent Democrat Kent Conrad's 61 percent.

Sand could become the Republican's endorsed candidate at the party's upcoming state convention March 28-30 in Fargo.

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He lives in Bismarck with his wife, Holly, and their two children.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Mike Nowatzki at (701) 241-5528

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