John Hageman covers North Dakota politics from the Forum News Service bureau in Bismarck. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Grand Forks Herald and Bemidji Pioneer.
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BISMARCK — Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer raised almost $1.7 million in the third quarter for his Senate bid, according to filings his campaign provided Monday, Oct. 15. Cramer, who's trying to unseat Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, had $1.2 million on hand at the end of September, according to the first few pages of his Federal Election Commission filing. He has raised almost $5 million this election cycle.
BISMARCK — On the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation, where the tribal chairman estimated the unemployment rate sits at 60 percent, $15 could buy a new tribal identification or help pay heating bills through a long North Dakota winter. So amid a multi-year legal and legislative battle over North Dakota's voter ID laws, Chairman Jamie Azure signed an executive order to provide free tribal IDs for a limited time. Demand was so high, he said, the machine overheated and started melting the IDs.
BISMARCK — After winning her U.S. Senate seat six years ago, Heidi Heitkamp triumphantly held up a copy of The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead weeks after the state's largest newspaper published poll results showing her trailing her Republican opponent by 10 points. Heitkamp, a Democrat, is hoping for another Dewey-defeats-Truman moment next month. She shrugged off public polls showing her behind Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer, noting that President Donald Trump was expected to lose in 2016.
BISMARCK — Prairie Public officials are no longer expecting to reschedule the Friday, Oct. 5, debate between Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp and Republic Rep. Kevin Cramer. The debate was postponed because the Senate was set to vote on now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court. Heitkamp announced she would oppose Kavanaugh the day before the scheduled debate, and the Senate confirmed him on Saturday. Matt Olien, a producer at Prairie Public, said Thursday they offered dates before the Nov. 6 election, but Cramer's camp said he was too busy.
BISMARCK — North Dakota utility regulators agreed Wednesday, Oct. 10, that plans for an oil refinery near Theodore Roosevelt National Park are out of their hands. The Public Service Commission dismissed a complaint filed by environmental groups challenging Meridian Energy Group's plans for a Billings County refinery in western North Dakota. In a unanimous decision, the commissioners sided with an administrative law judge's recommendation issued last month.
BISMARCK — Xcel Energy is planning to refund North Dakota electric customers almost $9.8 million due to the tax cuts Congress passed last year. The North Dakota Public Service Commission notified the public of the opportunity to have a hearing on a proposed settlement agreement Wednesday, Oct. 10. The Minneapolis-based company estimated residential customers would see an average one-time refund of $46, and PSC officials expected it would come sometime next year.
BISMARCK — The confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh this weekend continued to reverberate in North Dakota's U.S. Senate race between Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp and Republican Kevin Cramer Tuesday, Oct. 9. National reporters descended on North Dakota in recent days after Heitkamp cast a vote against President Donald Trump's U.S. Supreme Court pick, whose confirmation process was roiled by sexual assault allegations. Kavanaugh denied the accusations, but Heitkamp said she believed the woman who testified before a Senate committee and questioned Kavanaugh's temperament.
BISMARCK — Gov. Doug Burgum announced plans to honor North Dakota native and former U.S. Secret Service agent Clint Hill on Friday, Oct. 5, nearly 55 years after he scrambled on top of the presidential limousine to shield its occupants from a gunman who assassinated President John F. Kennedy. Burgum named Hill as the 44th recipient of the Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award, which the governor’s office described as the state’s “highest commendation for its citizens.” Hill served in the Secret Service from 1958 to 1975.
BISMARCK — Gov. Doug Burgum and State Board of Higher Education Chairman Don Morton have signaled support for splitting North Dakota's higher education governance into multiple boards, a significant change that would require a constitutional amendment. Burgum chairs a task force examining the structure of higher education in North Dakota, and Morton is a member. The panel, which doesn't have the power to enact changes itself, is wrapping up its work in hopes of issuing a report with recommendations ahead of the 2019 legislative session, which begins in January.
BISMARCK — North Dakota Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp announced Thursday, Oct. 4, she will vote against Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, questioning his temperament and declaring she believed the woman who accused him of sexual assault.