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Casselton lawmaker to run for North Dakota secretary of state

Rep. Michael Howe, a Casselton Republican, was first elected to the North Dakota House in 2016 and quickly rose in the Republican ranks to become one of the youngest members on the powerful House Appropriations Committee.

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North Dakota Rep. Michael Howe, R-Casselton, announces his candidacy for secretary of state in a video on Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022.
Screenshot from video
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BISMARCK — North Dakota Rep. Michael Howe, a Casselton Republican, announced Tuesday, Jan. 18, he will run for secretary of state this year.

In a swipe at Congressional Democrats, Howe said he wants to protect the security of North Dakota's elections from outsiders who want to reshape them.

"While North Dakota continues to feed and fuel the world, our biggest challenges often come from politicians in D.C.,” Howe said in a news release. “North Dakotans should always be in charge of North Dakota’s elections.”

Howe also noted he wants to cut unnecessary regulations for businesses dealing with the office.

Republican Secretary of State Al Jaeger, who was first elected in 1992, has said he will not seek another term. Howe is the first candidate on either side of the aisle to formally announce his candidacy for the office.

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The office has a variety of administrative responsibilities , including overseeing elections, managing public campaign finance disclosures, maintaining business records and preserving official state documents. The secretary of state also serves on the Land Board, the Emergency Commission and the State Canvassing Board.

Howe, 35, began serving in the North Dakota House in 2017 and quickly rose in the Republican ranks to become one of the youngest members on the powerful House Appropriations Committee. He and fellow Republican Rep. Brandy Pyle easily warded off Democratic challengers in 2016 and 2020.

The North Dakota State University graduate who manages a longstanding family seed operation in Casselton said he ran for the Legislature to fight for families, small businesses and farmers.

Last year, Howe sponsored legislation to shield businesses from lawsuits brought by workers who contracted COVID-19 on the job. He has unsuccessfully pushed for the legalization of sports betting .

Howe has been a well-funded candidate in his legislative races, receiving four-figure contributions from Gov. Doug Burgum and U.S. Rep. Kelly Armstrong, as well as a handful of high-powered interest groups.

Jeremy Turley is a Bismarck-based reporter for Forum News Service, which provides news coverage to publications owned by Forum Communications Company.
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