Plain Talk: Not your typical North Dakota Democrat

Trygve Hammer, one of the Democratic-NPL's two candidates for the Public Service Commission, isn't afraid to be critical of his own party.

North Dakota Public Service Commission candidate Trygve Hammer appeals to delegates at the Democratic-NPL Party's state convention in Minot on Saturday, March 26, 2022.
Kyle Martin / The Forum
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MINOT, N.D. — "There are some problems within the Democratic party in North Dakota that we need to fix."

That's according to Trygve Hammer, a Marine veteran from Velva who just accepted the Democratic-NPL's endorsement to campaign for a seat on the Public Service Commission. He spoke about his candidacy on this episode of Plain Talk, and he doesn't sound like your typical Democratic candidate.

He's pro-oil, pro-coal, and he's not afraid to be critical of his own party, which he says needs to "get over" the years of dominance the NDGOP has accrued and start "showing up."

Why is he running for the PSC? "The party asked me. The party needed me," he said, noting that he was first recruited for a 2022 campaign in February. But it wasn't until this month that he decided to campaign for the PSC specifically.

He'll be running against Republican Sheri Haugen-Hoffart, who was just appointed by Gov. Doug Burgum.


He said he wished he had more time to prepare for the campaign, and he admitted, when I asked him if there were specific policies the PSC has implemented that he could cite as reasons for a change in leadership, that he still has to get up to speed.

Still, Hammer has the skills and the personality to connect with North Dakota voters in ways that Democratic candidates in the recent past have struggled to achieve.

Also on this episode, Wednesday co-host Chad Oban and I discuss the upcoming NDGOP convention, and some of the potential shenanigans which may play out there.

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The North Dakota Republican Party no longer has any obligation to pretend as though Rick Becker is a member in good standing, whatever Becker himself might have to say about it.

Opinion by Rob Port
Rob Port is a news reporter, columnist, and podcast host for the Forum News Service. He has an extensive background in investigations and public records. He has covered political events in North Dakota and the upper Midwest for two decades. Reach him at Click here to subscribe to his Plain Talk podcast.
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