Search for superintendentFARGO — As the Republican convention recessed for the day late Friday, the party still had no candidate to run for superintendent of public instruction.
By: Janell Cole, N.D. Capitol Bureau
FARGO — As the Republican convention recessed for the day late Friday, the party still had no candidate to run for superintendent of public instruction.
The incumbent, Democrat Wayne Sanstead, has held office since he was first elected in 1984 and is seeking a seventh term.
The vacancy on the GOP slate is ironic because it was Republicans who pushed through a law change in the 2007 Legislature to remove the requirement that the superintendent hold a teaching certificate. The prerequisite was probably unconstitutional, the attorney general had ruled.
The law change made virtually anyone eligible to run and hold the office.
The office appears on the non-partisan section of the ballot but both parties typically issue a letter of support to someone in their ranks.
If the convention adjourns with no superintendent candidate, it does not mean the party will go without this year, leaving Sanstead a shoo-in.
The party executive committee can issue a letter of support anytime up through the primary filing date, April 11. Either way, with a support letter or without, the candidate must turn in a petition with 300 names.
Not surprisingly, the convention was peppered with gibes at Democrats.
House Majority Leader Rick Berg joked that, “When I walked in here this morning, I thought I was in the wrong place. Because I kept hearing ‘Nobody’s going to be at the convention.’ ”
That’s because, he explained, “They’re in Grand Forks awaiting the arrival of…(scratches his head)…I don’t remember his name.”
He was, of course, referencing the Democratic-NPL convention’s keynote speaker, presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama.
Reminding an remembering
Secretary of State Al Jaeger told the delegates that he can still remember his decision to run for the office 16 years ago. The first person he told that he was considering it was his wife, Kathy.
Her words of encouragement were, “You better do it or you’ll regret it the rest of your life.”
True to form, Jaeger used his time at the podium to conduct business.
“The filing deadline (for the primary ballot) is April 11, 4 p.m.,” he said.
Young at heart, at least
Republicans bestowed the “Elephants Remembered” honor on two longtime party activists Saturday-former House Majority Leader Earl Strinden and former Senate candidate Dr. Ben Clayburgh, both of Grand Forks.
In thanking them for the honor, Strinden had a suggestion: “When you’re giving these honors, you should find elderly people.”
Strinden is 76.
Janell Cole works for Forum Communications Co., which owns The Dickinson Press.