Jaeger will run for Secretary of State after Gardner drops out

May 21, 2018

Credit Secretary of State's office

In the wake of the Republican-endorsed candidate for North Dakota Secretary of State withdrawing his name from the ballot, incumbent Secretary of State Al Jaeger  has decided to run.

But he will run as an independent.

Jaeger said state law does not specifically address this kind of situation – when an endorsed candidate voluntarily withdraws.

"I'll need 1000 signatures on a petition," Jaeger said. "They will have to be filed before Sept. 4th. That option is what exists in state law."

The nominee – Will Gardner – withdrew after the Forum reported that he had pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in 2006, while employed by NDSU. An NDSU security guard said he saw Gardner look through windows at women in a freshman dormitory on campus. In a statement, he said he decided to end his campaign – quoting now – “in the best interest of my family and me.”

Jaeger said he could have tried a write-in campaign, but that would not be a viable option.

"The votes that are cast for a candidate, even though the candidate might have withdrawn, still need to be counted," Jaeger said. "A write-in campaign would be quite a large undertaking. And you would have to make sure you have more write-in votes than the person's name already on the ballot."

And Jaeger said a number of people have already used the early voting option.

But Gardner’s name will not appear on the November ballot.  State law says a person who declines a nomination can submit a written notice, making the nomination void.

Jaeger said even though he will be on the ballot as an independent, people know he’s a Republican.