Port: Minot Democrat launches 2020 campaign for U.S. House, challenging NDGOP incumbent Kelly Armstrong

Zachary Raknerud
Zachary Raknerud, who has filed a statement of candidacy with the FEC for a 2020 U.S. House run, is pictured here at the North Dakota State Fair parade in Minot during his campaign for the North Dakota legislature in 2018. Photo via Facebook.

MINOT, N.D. — North Dakota Democrats have their first official statewide candidate of the 2020 election cycle.

Zachary Raknerud has filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission, indicating the formation of a campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives.

North Dakota's at-large seat in the House is currently held by Republican Kelly Armstrong, who was first elected to that seat, after previously serving in the state Senate, in 2018.

Raknerud is currently a vice-chairman for Minot-area District 5 for the North Dakota Democratic-NPL. In the 2018 election cycle, Raknerud ran for North Dakota's House of Representatives in District 5 but was defeated by Republicans Scott Louser and Jay Fisher after receiving just over 20 percent of the vote .


EMBED: North Dakota District 5 2018 House election results

In a guest post for promoting his 2018 campaign , Raknerud advocated for the creation of a tuition-free trade school, a "public option" for health insurance run by the State of North Dakota, and more funding for the city of Minot.

Raknerud is from the Grand Forks and Northwoods area, originally. He moved to Minot after graduating from the University of North Dakota in 2016.

His public LinkedIn profile states he works as an executive team leader at Target in Minot.

Raknerud and I have scheduled an interview for my PlainTalk podcast later this week.

As I mentioned, Raknerud is the first North Dakota Democrat to announce a statewide campaign so far in the 2020 election cycle. Democrats will endorse their candidates in late March during their statewide convention, which is scheduled for Minot (something which might be advantageous for Raknerud). The candidates for all parties will be officially nominated on the statewide June ballot.

The only other potential statewide candidate for Democrats I've heard mentioned in the state's political rumor mill is Fargo-area state Rep. Ruth Buffalo who, I'm told, is also considering a campaign for the U.S. House.

Here's Raknerud's statement of candidacy:


To comment on this article, visit

Rob Port, founder of, a North Dakota political blog, is a Forum Communications commentator. Listen to his Plain Talk Podcast and follow him on Twitter at @RobPort.

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
Get Local