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Former Lt. Gov candidate seeks independent bid for North Dakota secretary of state

“The Pioneer Family” stands in front of the North Dakota State Capitol on July 14, 2016, in Bismarck. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

BISMARCK — The race for North Dakota secretary of state may become more crowded with a former lieutenant governor candidate launching an independent run Tuesday, Aug. 14.

Secretary of State Al Jaeger's office confirmed Wednesday that Michael Coachman submitted signatures in an attempt to appear on the November ballot. The office is now tasked with determining whether he gathered 1,000 valid signatures.

Coachman ran as a Republican candidate for lieutenant governor in 2016 alongside Paul Sorum, but they attracted less than two percent of the vote in the primary election. The duo also ran unsuccessfully for the office as independents in 2012.

Coachman's potential candidacy marks another twist in the race.

Jaeger, the longtime Republican incumbent, mounted an independent campaign after the GOP-endorsed candidate dropped out once his 2006 peeping arrest surfaced. The North Dakota Supreme Court ordered a recount for Libertarian candidate Roland Riemers after he failed to garner enough votes during the June primary.

Democratic state Rep. Joshua Boschee is his party's candidate for the office, which oversees the state's elections and handles business filings, among other duties.

John Hageman

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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