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Sorum to run for N.D. governor again, this time as Republican

BISMARCK - A fourth Republican is jumping into the race for governor of North Dakota, setting up the possibility of a three-way race for the GOP nomination in the June primary.

BISMARCK – A fourth Republican is jumping into the race for governor of North Dakota, setting up the possibility of a three-way race for the GOP nomination in the June primary.

Paul Sorum of Bismarck, who ran for governor as an independent in 2012, said Thursday he will file his candidacy with the secretary of state’s office late today or Friday after his supporters gathered more than the 300 signatures needed to gain a spot on the June 14 primary ballot.

Sorum told Forum News Service in early March that he would likely run and skip the state GOP convention this weekend in Fargo, and he said he plans to do just that.

“My feeling on going right to the primary is that the other candidates have made the convention process irrelevant,” he said.

Fargo businessman and philanthropist Doug Burgum plans to run in the primary regardless of whether he wins or loses the GOP nod. Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, widely considered the favorite for the GOP endorsement, and state Rep. Rick Becker of Bismarck both have said they will abide by the convention’s outcome and not run for governor without the endorsement.

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Sorum said he’s “the only candidate who’s truly pro-life and believes in traditional marriage between one man and one woman,” and the only candidate with “real experience” working in the oil industry. The 54-year-old is currently self-employed, doing financial analysis and business planning.

Sorum said he ran as an independent in 2012 because he had endorsed Gov. Jack Dalrymple at that year’s GOP convention but later retracted his endorsement and wanted to distance himself from Dalrymple. Sorum also ran for U.S. Senate as a Republican in 2010, losing the GOP nod to then-Gov. John Hoeven.

“I’m truly a Republican,” he said.

Sorum filed a lawsuit challenging the results of the 2012 gubernatorial election, arguing that the party endorsement forms filled out by the Republican and Democratic candidates before the primary election didn’t comply with state law because they failed to list their running mates.

He asked that the results be tossed on the technicality and recalculated, which would have left him as the winner with 1.69 percent of the vote. But the North Dakota Supreme Court denied the appeal, saying the appropriate time to challenge nominations for elective office and seek relief is prior to voting and that Sorum didn’t present “any evidence to indicate an obstruction to the free and intelligent casting of the vote.”

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