Lonnie Laffen

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Lonnie Laffen
Lonnie Laffen.jpg
North Dakota State Senate District 43
In office
Term ends
November 31, 2018
Years in position 5
Base salary$162/day
Per diemUp to $1,569/month for lodging
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 4, 2014
First electedNovember 2, 2010
Next generalNovember 6, 2018
Term limitsN/A
Bachelor'sNorth Dakota State University
Office website
Campaign website
Lonnie J. Laffen is a Republican member of the North Dakota State Senate, representing District 43. He was first elected to the chamber in 2010.


Laffen earned his B.A. in Architecture from North Dakota State University. He was the North Dakota State Architect from 2004 to 2008 and chairman of the North Dakota Historic Preservation Review Board. Laffen has operated JLG Architects since its founding in 1985.

Committee assignments

2015 legislative session

At the beginning of the 2015 legislative session, Laffen served on the following committees:

North Dakota Committee Assignments, 2015
Energy and Natural Resources
Finance and Taxation, Vice Chairman


In the 2013-2014 legislative session, Laffen served on the following committees:


In the 2011-2012 legislative session, Laffen served on these committees:


Campaign themes


Laffen's campaign website highlighted the following issues:[1]


  • Excerpt: "Define Benchmarks and develop an action plan toward the goal of becoming the #1 state in education"
  • Excerpt: "Leverage state dollars to create a tuition scholarship program supported by public/private endowments"
  • Excerpt: "Increase funding for greater curricula supporting science, technology, engineering & math"
  • Excerpt: "Create opportunities for business to have a stronger voice in the development of higher education programming"
  • Excerpt: "Work to reduce the cost of tuition"

Energy Development

  • Excerpt: "Continue to grow our oil and gas industry"
  • Excerpt: "Be excellent stewards of our land"
  • Excerpt: "Use tax revenues to lower taxes, save for our future and improve our quality of life"

Tax Relief

  • Excerpt: "We will work hard over the next four years to continue to cut taxes and will likely have a serious debate about eliminating our personal income tax. Strategic investment of our Legacy and Common Schools Trust funds will allow us to make tax cuts permanent."



See also: North Dakota State Senate elections, 2014

Elections for the office of North Dakota State Senate took place in 2014. A primary election took place on June 10, 2014. The general election was held on November 4, 2014. The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in this election was April 7, 2014. Incumbent Lonnie Laffen was unopposed in the Republican primary, while JoNell Bakke was unopposed in the Democratic primary. Laffen defeated Bakke in the general election.[2][3][4]

North Dakota State Senate, District 43, General Election, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngLonnie Laffen Incumbent 53.3% 2,102
     Democratic JoNell Bakke 46.7% 1,841
Total Votes 3,943


See also: North Dakota State Senate elections, 2010

Laffen won election to the North Dakota State Senate in the November 2 general election. He defeated incumbent JoNell Bakke (D).[5]

North Dakota Senate General Election, District 43 (2010)
Candidates Votes Percent
Green check mark transparent.png Lonnie Laffen (R) 2,102 52.80%
JoNell Bakke (D) 1,872 47.02%

Campaign donors


In 2010, Laffen raised a total of $21,870 in campaign contributions.[6]

His six largest campaign contributors in 2010 were:

Donor Amount
North Dakota Republican Senate Caucus $7,500
Grand Forks Republican Women $2,500
AIA North Dakota PAC $2,295
Magelky, Michael $1,000
Ledohowski, Leo $1,000
Tweten, Craig & Dolly $1,000


See also: State legislative scorecards and State legislative scorecards in North Dakota

Legislative scorecards are used to evaluate elected public officials based on voting record. Some scorecards are created by political advocacy groups with a focus on specific issues, while others are developed by newspapers and are broad in scope. Scorecards are meant to be used as a tool for voters to have a quick picture of whether their views align with a particular legislator's record.

Because scorecards can be specific to particular issues or general to a state’s legislative term, for example, each report should be considered on its own merits. Each entity that publishes these reports uses different methodologies and definitions for the terms used.

An overview for scorecards in all 50 states can be found on this page. To contribute to the list of North Dakota scorecards, email suggestions to scorecards@ballotpedia.org.

Please see our writing guidelines if you would like to add results from an individual scorecard to this legislator's profile.


In 2013, the 63rd North Dakota Legislative Assembly was in session from January 8 to May 4. In 2014, the 63rd North Dakota Legislative Assembly did not hold a regular session.

  • Legislators are scored on their votes on bills that were great interest to the family.
  • Legislators are scored based on their votes on bills impacting North Dakota's business community.


In 2011, the 62nd North Dakota Legislative Assembly was in regular session from January 4 through April 28. A special session was called by Governor Jack Dalrymple from November 7 through 12 to cover legislative redistricting and disaster relief.[7] In 2012, the 62nd North Dakota Legislative Assembly did not hold a regular session.

  • Legislators are scored on their votes on bills that were great interest to the family.
  • Legislators are scored on how they voted on the principles the Council seeks to promote.
  • Legislators are scored on their votes on bills relating to women's issues.
  • Legislators are scored on their votes on key small business issues.

NDPC: North Dakota Legislative Review

See also: North Dakota Policy Council: North Dakota Legislative Review

The North Dakota Policy Council, a North Dakota-based nonprofit research organization which describes itself as "liberty-based", published the North Dakota Legislative Review, a comprehensive report on how state legislators voted during the 2011 legislative session. The scorecard seeks to show how North Dakota legislators voted on the principles the Council seeks to promote. The Council recorded and scored votes on both spending bills and policy bills, and awarded points accordingly. Policy issues voted upon included income tax cuts, pension reform, and government transparency. On spending legislation, the Council accorded a percentage score based on how much spending the legislator voted against. On policy legislation, scores range from the highest score (100%) to the lowest (0%). A higher score indicates that the legislator voted more in favor of the values supported by the Council.[8] Laffen received a score of 81.82% on policy legislation and voted against 2.18% of state spending. On policy, Laffen was ranked 24th and on spending was ranked 38th, out of 46 Senate members evaluated for the study.[9]


Laffen and his wife, Pam, have three children. They currently reside in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

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Political offices
Preceded by
JoNell Bakke (D)
North Dakota State Senate District 43
Succeeded by