Port: North Dakota lawmaker barred from flight after altercation with airport security
Rep. Jeff Hoverson claims the incident is "probably, politically, turning out well," citing "all the positive calls I'm getting" from people who have learned about the incident through word of mouth.
MINOT, N.D. — State Rep. Jeff Hoverson , a Republican from Minot, was barred this week from boarding a flight at the Minot International Airport.
According to an incident report obtained from the Minot Police Department , Hoverson accused a member of airport staff of touching his genitals while going through the security checkpoint on Monday, Oct. 25.
He ultimately was removed from the security area, according to the report, and Allegiant barred him from boarding his flight.
The incident report indicates that the matter, as of Oct. 26, "will be going long for for [sic] simple assault."
There is a video of the incident, per the report, but when reached for comment Chief of Police John Klug indicated it isn't available as it relates to an ongoing investigation.
The Ward County State's Attorney's office indicated the matter hadn't yet been referred to them by Minot law enforcement.
Allegiant declined to make a specific comment on the matter.
"We can’t comment on an active police investigation, so I must refer you back to law enforcement officials for additional comment on this incident," Sonya Padgett with Allegiant's media relations department told me when I inquired about the incident with them. "But I can tell you that the safety of our passengers and crew is our top priority. With that in mind, our general practice would be to deny boarding to a passenger if they were being actively investigated by law enforcement for assaulting a TSA agent."
When I reached him for comment, Hoverson told me that the incident report is inaccurate when it suggests he accused the airport staffer of touching his genitals. He said he and his wife were on their way to Phoenix to celebrate their anniversary when the incident occurred.
"After a number of pat-downs on my body he reached into my hoodie pocket and I kind of pushed him away," Hoverson told me, describing it as a "human male reaction to another male."
Hoverson, who also works as a Lutheran pastor, is an outspoken social conservative who opposes policies such as same-sex marriage. He is a member of the controversial Bastiat Caucus of Trump-aligned lawmakers.
He acknowledged being barred from his flight by Allegiant. "You interfere with their procedure and you're out," he said.
Hoverson said he wasn't aware of an ongoing investigation. "If they want to make a big deal out of it, that's on them," he said.
He claims the incident is "probably, politically, turning out well," citing "all the positive calls I'm getting" from people who have learned about the incident through word of mouth.
Hoverson has achieved a degree of prominence in North Dakota political circles on the back of vociferous opposition to masking and vaccines during the COVID-19 pandemic. A bill Hoverson introduced earlier this year banning statewide facemasks was passed over a veto from Gov. Doug Burgum , though it was the only piece of legislation introduced by Hoverson to be made law during the session.
On Friday, Oct. 22, he sent out an email to fellow lawmakers calling for a rally of some 5,000 people at the state capitol in Bismarck and, later, at the Bismarck Civic Center, on Nov. 8, which is also the day the Legislature will convene in special session.
"We need 5000 ND people to make a strong statement to INFLUENCE the situation and legislation. There are 3 great vacc [sic] mandate ban bills, two election fraud fixing bills, and others you will like," Hoverson states in the email which was forwarded to me by one of the recipients.
"We need to turn the tide of tyranny and get our state free and secure in spite of what the federal government or globalists do," he continued. "This is a time to sacrifice so the next generation can know what true freedom looks like and can live it."
The special session is intended to address redistricting, and the appropriation of federal COVID-19 funding, and it's not clear at this point if bills unrelated to those issues will be considered.
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Rob Port, founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org .