Port: Secretary of state rescinds recall petition for Valley City lawmaker

Since we're now less than a year away from Election Day 2022, and since Kiefert, should he choose to run, will now be on that ballot, he can't be recalled.

Rep. Dwight Kiefert, R-Valley City, speaks on the floor of the North Dakota House in 2015. Tom Stromme / Bismarck Tribune
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MINOT, N.D. — Back in July, a group of Republicans representing a far-right faction of the NDGOP launched a recall petition for Rep. Dwight Kiefert , a Republican lawmaker from Valley City.

Among their gripes was Kiefert's vote to expel former Bastiat Caucus lawmaker Luke Simons amid multiple accusations of long-standing harassment of other lawmakers and legislative staff.

Secretary of State Al Jaeger says it's now a moot point. In a letter sent to the recall committee, Jaeger said redistricting will require Kiefert to run for re-election next year anyway, and state law doesn't allow the recall of a politician so close to their regular election.

Last week, at a special session, the Legislature approved a redistricting map that impacted District 24, which Kiefert currently represents. That means Kiefert's term, which otherwise would have run to 2024, now ends in 2022. If he wants to stay in office, he must campaign in 2022 for a two-year term, and then run again in 2024 for a regular four-year term.

It's a little confusing, I know, but for the recall petitioners, it means their campaign is off.


Chapter 16.1-01-09.1 of the North Dakota Century Code states : "An official may not be recalled if the recall special election would occur within one year of the next regularly scheduled election in which the official could be re-elected."

Since we're now less than a year away from Election Day 2022, and since Kiefert, should he choose to run, will now be on that ballot, he can't be recalled.

Which might be a gift for the recall petitioners. I'm not aware of any official announcement they've made with regard to their progress, but I'm told it wasn't going well.

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Rob Port, founder of, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at .

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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