Published January 31, 2024

Democrat announces run for North Dakota governor

Written by
The Dakotan
| The Dakotan

North Dakota Democrats have their first announced candidate to run for governor in 2024. 

Travis Hipsher of Neche will try to be the first Democrat since 1988 to win the governor’s race. 

“I don’t know how to classify myself except as a centrist,” Hipsher told the North Dakota Monitor on Tuesday. 

Hipsher said he wants North Dakota to be less reliant on energy and agriculture and outlined a four-point plan for the state.

Immigration and relocation: Encouraging legal immigration and encouraging people to move to North Dakota to help fill jobs. 

Rural sustainability: Providing money for infrastructure, flood protection, mental health service and economic development. 

Manufacturing investments: Investing in chip, drone, robotic and agricultural processing.

National Guard recruitment and investment: Raising wages and a retirement benefit and upgrading equipment. 

“We do need leadership, a different direction, and I think I’m the only candidate as of right now that’s offered a real plan to do it,” Hipsher said.

Hipsher’s outline includes a second phase goal of developing a space program with the possibility of a lunar mission. 

Hipsher said he was born and raised in East Grand Forks, Minnesota, and has lived in Grand Forks. About eight years ago, he moved to Neche, north of Grand Forks, in Pembina County.  

He works as a security guard and said he has managed people with a pharmaceutical delivery company.

He ran for the North Dakota state Senate in District 19 from the Democratic-NPL Party in 2022. He won just over 24% of the vote, losing to Republican incumbent Janne Myrdal. 

With the Republican Party dominating North Dakota politics, Hipsher said he had to speak with a lot of Republicans while on the campaign trail and has a lot of Republican friends. 

“When you talk to a lot of voters, they do want to change the buddy system, but I don’t think they necessarily want to give it to a Democrat,” Hipsher said. 

Hipsher said he hopes to change that and become the first Democratic governor since George Sinner, who won a second term in 1988.  

Republicans are hoping to retain the office after Gov. Doug Burgum decided not to seek a third term. U.S. Rep. Kelly Armstrong is the only declared Republican candidate for governor as of Tuesday after Tom Campbell chose to run for Armstrong’s congressional seat instead of governor.

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