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Port: Dickinson mayor considering run for secretary of state

Scott Decker is currently the mayor of Dickinson, having been elected to that position in 2016, and before that he was elected to the Dickinson City Commission in 2014. He's a graduate of Dickinson State University and a 21-year Army veteran.

Mayor Scott Decker, at a previous Dickinson City Commission, addresses commission members. (Jackie Jahfetson/The Dickinson Press)
Mayor Scott Decker addresses commission members at a Dickinson City Commission meeting.
(Jackie Jahfetson/The Dickinson Press)
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MINOT, N.D. — Incumbent Secretary of State Al Jaeger has been in office since 1992, but he's not running for another term, and the candidates to replace him are already lining up.

Rep. Michael Howe, a Republican from West Fargo, has already thrown his hat into the ring (you can listen to him talk about his candidacy on a recent episode of Plain Talk ), and now another candidate may be on the cusp of announcing.

Scott Decker is the mayor of Dickinson , having been elected to that position in 2016, and before that he was elected to the Dickinson City Commission in 2014. He's a graduate of Dickinson State University and a 21-year Army veteran.

He tells me he may take a shot at statewide office. "I haven't made a decision yet," he said.

What's holding him back? He said the challenge a candidate like him faces is that, while he's well-known in Dickinson, he may not enjoy the sort of name recognition other candidates from larger communities, or who have already held more prominent offices, enjoy.

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I'm just not seeing a constituency of North Dakota voters that Mund could appeal to that's large enough to lead her to victory. But, again, that's assuming that she's running to win, and not as a way to keep her celebrity alive post-Miss America.

"You don't always get to interact with the different districts," Decker said, adding that he's in the process of introducing himself to "district chairs" and other state political leaders.

Why run for secretary of state? "I think Al Jaeger did a good job while he was there," Decker told me, "but things could be improved upon."

Decker said he'd talk specifics about what those things are if he makes an announcement, but he suggested that there hasn't been enough progress on changes from Jaeger.

"I was very hopeful when Jaeger was challenged," Decker said, referring to the 2018 cycle when the incumbent lost the NDGOP's endorsement at the state convention to a candidate named Will Gardner.

Gardner ended up dropping out of the race after a peeping tom conviction from years before made headlines. Jaeger re-entered the race, and ultimately won his current term. Decker says Jaeger promised to address the changes those who backed Gardner wanted.

"Not much of that has changed," he told me.

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 rport@forumcomm.com. Click here to subscribe to his Plain Talk podcast.
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