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North Dakota lieutenant governor launches gubernatorial bid against congressman

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota’s lieutenant governor joined the state’s open gubernatorial race on Thursday, setting up a Republican contest against the state’s single congressman.

Lt. Gov. Tammy Miller, former CEO of electrical distributor Border States, is running to succeed Gov. Doug Burgum, who announced last month he won’t seek a third term. Miller had been chief operating officer for Burgum’s office from 2020-2022, before he appointed her to replace the resigning Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford, who joined the private sector.

She’ll be up against Republican Rep. Kelly Armstrong, an attorney and former state senator who holds North Dakota’s single seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“As a business leader, I created jobs and made every dollar count,” Miller said in her announcement. “As Lt. Governor, I worked with Governor Burgum to grow the economy, cut taxes, balance budgets, reduce regulation and fight the Biden administration. When I’m governor we will keep the momentum going and take the state to the next level. We’re just getting started!”

As lieutenant governor, Miller presides over the state Senate and chairs several state government boards that oversee such things as major investment funds and plans for the Capitol grounds.

North Dakota’s dominant Republican Party will endorse candidates for statewide offices at its convention in April in Fargo, but voters choose the nominees in the June primary. Republicans have held the governor’s office since 1992. A Democrat has not won a statewide election since 2012.

Democrat Travis Hipsher, a security guard, and independent Michael Coachman, an Air Force veteran and frequent candidate for state office, also recently announced their gubernatorial bids.

Voters passed term limits in 2022, meaning no future governors can be elected more than twice, though Burgum could have run for a third or even fourth term.

Jack Dura, The Associated Press