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Christmann, Schmidt, Peterson receive GOP nod

BISMARCK -- Assistant Senate Majority Leader Randy Christmann of Hazen received the Republican endorsement for Public Service Commission on Saturday at the GOP convention.

Christmann defeated Rep. Blair Thoreson, R-Fargo, for the endorsement on an 847-668 vote.

Christmann is a rancher who has served in the North Dakota Senate since 1994. Christmann, who represents the area of the state known as Coal Country, said he's worked with many of the issues the Public Service Commission addresses.

Brad Crabtree, who ranches in Dickey County, received the Democratic-NPL endorsement. The candidates are vying for the seat held by Republican Tony Clark, who is not seeking re-election.

The Public Service Commission has varying degrees of authority over electric and gas utilities, telecommunications companies, power plant, transmission line and pipeline siting, railroads, grain elevators, auctioneers and auction clerks, weighing and measuring devices, pipeline safety and coal mine reclamation.

Commissioners serve six-year terms. The annual salary is $92,826.

State Treasurer Kelly Schmidt, who is seeking a third term in office, received the Republican endorsement Saturday.

Schmidt said she's been committed to running an administration focused on modernizing the office and making it more transparent. She said she plans to continue that if elected to another term.

"North Dakotans want to know how and where their resources are being used, and I've always believed the people's treasury is the people's business," she said.

Schmidt will face Democrat Ross Mushik of Mandan.

The state treasurer's salary is $85,330.

State Auditor Bob Peterson received the Republican endorsement for the office Saturday.

Peterson was first elected to the seat in 1996 and has served ever since. He said his vision has been to maintain integrity, professionalism, fairness and transparency in the office and for the staff to produce informative audits.

Peterson will face Rep. Scot Kelsh, D-Fargo, who received the Democratic-NPL endorsement for state auditor.

The auditor's annual salary is $90,360.

Finneman is a multimedia reporter for Forum Communications Co.