SUBSCRIBE NOW Get a year of news PLUS a gift box!



Port: Democratic-NPL says NDGOP legislative candidate is ineligible because he lives in Wyoming

If only they'd shown this sort of zeal for eligibility issues back when it was their own candidate under the microscope.

PHOTO: ND Democratic-NPL 2018 State Convention
North Dakota Democratic Party Chairwoman Kylie Oversen. Photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald
We are part of The Trust Project.

MINOT, N.D. — Earlier this year the Democratic-NPL stubbornly refused to acknowledge that one of their candidates for statewide office, Travisia Martin, who was running for Insurance Commissioner, was ineligible for the ballot.

Despite clear evidence that Martin had cast a ballot in Nevada in the 2016 election something that, if done legally, requires residency in that state and thus doesn't satisfy North Dakota's five-year residency requirement for executive branch office, the Democrats insisted she should stay on the ballot.

They fought the issue all the way to the state Supreme Court. Where the lost. Because the evidence against Martin was clear to any reasonable person not addled by partisan loyalty.

So the zeal with which Democrats are now attacking a Republican candidate for the Legislature in District 4 seems a bit ... hypocritical.

"Terry Jones, a legislator who is seeking reelection in North Dakota’s House District 4 does not reside in North Dakota and cannot be elected to the seat under the state’s Constitution," a news release from the party states. "A lawsuit was filed this week by Kenton Onstad, a resident of District 4 and chair of the District 4 Democratic-NPL Party."


"North Dakota law requires candidates for state legislature to be a resident for one year prior to the election, and more than 80% of North Dakotans believe a legislator should live in the district they represent," the release continues. "Jones is currently a registered agent of Jones Brothers Enterprises, LLC in Wyoming. To hold that position, he has asserted he resides in Wyoming repeatedly, as recently as this year, meaning he cannot meet North Dakota’s residency requirement. Jones also owns residential property in Wyoming. His legislative phone number has a Wyoming area code as well."

I'm not familiar with the facts about Jones' residency, but if they are as the Democrats claim, he's got some problems.

Legally, sure, but also as a matter of ethics.

You cannot represent North Dakota voters from Wyoming. Jones is finishing out his first term in office, having first been elected in 2016.

I'm sure the question of Jones' eligibility will be adequately addressed by the courts. If he is ineligible, shame on District 4 Republicans for not better vetting their candidates.

As for the Democrats? If only they'd shown this sort of zeal for eligibility issues back when it was their own candidate under the microscope.


To comment on this article, visit

Rob Port, founder of, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at .

Related Topics: ELECTION 2020
Opinion by Rob Port
Rob Port is a news reporter, columnist, and podcast host for the Forum News Service. He has an extensive background in investigations and public records. He has covered political events in North Dakota and the upper Midwest for two decades. Reach him at Click here to subscribe to his Plain Talk podcast.
What to read next
Tim Mahoney has earned another term as Fargo mayor. Dave Piepkorn has earned another term as Fargo city commissioner and Denise Kolpack is our pick for the open seat on the Fargo City Commission.
Among other extreme stances, far-right candidate calls for imprisonment of political opponent
Our beloved peregrine falcons, those magnificent birds that have called downtown Fargo home for more than 20 years, have lost their nesting platform on the Bell Bank building.
Scott and Ollenburger were front and center in the flopped recall of four board members last year over the district's mask mandate. The recall failed because more than 6,000 petition signatures were deemed invalid, mostly because they were signed by people who didn't live in the Fargo school district. It was a stunning show of incompetence.