Port: State Supreme Court promptly rejects petitions filed by NDGOP state senator targeting Burgum, Jaeger

Heitkamp accuses Burgum of having "abused his power as governor of North Dakota by funding the Dakota Leadership PAC," a committee formed by Burgum to support his preferred legislative candidates.

Jason Heitkamp records himself delivering a political commentary
State Sen. Jason Heitkamp of District 26, who is currently seeking the Republican nomination for the state House in District 25, is seen here recording a political commentary for Facebook while driving.
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MINOT, N.D. — Last week, on Friday, two petitions were filed with the state Supreme Court by a Republican state senator from the Wahpeton area.

By Monday, on a timeline so short it may well be a record (at least in the experience of this observer), each petition was rejected.

One accused Gov. Doug Burgum of improper political activities, and asked the court to bar him from running for re-election. The other was in support of a ballot measure to implement term limits for the governor and state lawmakers that is already the subject of litigation after being disqualified from the ballot due to alleged fraud in the signature collection process.

Each was filed by Sen. Jason Heitkamp, who currently represents District 26, but was moved into District 25 through redistricting, and lost the NDGOP's nomination in the new district.

That last is part of what inspired Heitkamp, who also expected me to respond to a Freedom of Information Act Request for my private communications and financial information , who seems to believe that I have him bugged with covert listening devices , to file at least one of these petitions.


That petition looks like it was drafted by a sixth-grader. It names both Heitkamp, described as "a living man on the land of North Dakota, not an artificial person to be presumed by the court," and "we the people" the "supreme authority of the state" as plaintiffs.

Serious questions of policy in our society should be settled through the flawed, frustrating, and often extremely protracted process of democracy and not judicial fiat.
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In it, Heitkamp accuses Burgum of having "abused his power as governor of North Dakota by funding the Dakota Leadership PAC," a committee formed by Burgum to support his preferred legislative candidates.

Burgum's "intention was not to help every single legislator, his intention was to only help those that would further his personal agenda," Heitkamp argued in the petition.

Was Heitkamp expecting Burgum to use his political resources to support every lawmaker? Even the Democrats? Apparently. It should be noted that Burgum has the same right every other person of this state, and of this country, has to support or oppose candidates as they see fit.

Anyway, according to Heitkamp, this was a violation of the "separation of powers," an argument that supposes Burgum somehow lost his First Amendment rights to express his political views after winning the gubernatorial election.

In Monday's short and terse order, the justices rejected Heitkamp's petition, writing that he and "we the people" had "not shown a clear legal right to an act."

The court similarly dismissed a second petition filed by Heitkamp seeking to intervene in the ongoing legal squabbling over the disqualified term limits ballot measure.

The entire petition is seven pages of gibberish that ends, abruptly, seemingly incomplete.


Keep in mind, as you read through this semi-literate tripe, that Mr. Heitkamp almost won the NDGOP's endorsement for the state House in District 25.

On the June ballot, he received hundreds of votes from Republicans in District 25.

He won the Senate seat he currently holds with 52.7% of the vote, beating out an experienced and well-respected candidate in Democrat Jim Dotzenrod.

When we talk about some of the decisions the American electorate has been making of late, people often say that the voters are angry. They've had enough.

But can you imagine being so angry you saddle yourself with someone like Mr. Heitkamp? Angry national mood or not, the people we put in office should have integrity.

Or else they should at least be coherent.

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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