KXNET reported this afternoon that North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum does not have the authority to appoint someone to a state House seat won by a Republican candidate who died before the election, the North Dakota Supreme Court ruled today.

The court was unanimous in their ruling, stating that Burgum "has not established a clear legal right" to pick his candidate of choice. David Andahl, a candidate for state representative in District 8 passed away at the age of 55 years back in October. Another victim of COVID-19, Andahl had been sick for several days prior to his death - a month later he was elected to the state House. Burgum had put out a statement that "the only legal and constitutionally viable way to fill the District 8 seat is through gubernatorial appointment". Governor Burgum believed that he absolutely had the right to make his choice happen. Legislators disagree, the power to fill the seat is not up to Burgum, it is theirs to make a move. Last Friday North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem let it be known his arguments -a governor may not "impose a legislator on a district they neither asked for or was involved with"

David Andahl was elected by a pretty good margin - a 3-1 margin to be exact, over third-place finisher Kathrin Volochenko. Even after his death, the voters in District 8 made it clear who their favorite was. We shall wait and see what the near future brings us - Next Monday is when newly elected lawmakers are sworn in. For more on this story click here.


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