North Dakota down ballot state executive elections, 2014

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North Dakota Down Ballot State Executive Elections

Primary Date
June 10, 2014

General Election Date:
November 4, 2014

North Dakota State Executive Elections
Top Ballot
Secretary of StateAttorney General
Down Ballot
Agriculture Commissioner, Tax Commissioner, Public Services Commissioner

Flag of North Dakota.png
Four down ballot state executive positions are up for election in the state of North Dakota in 2014. The general election will be held on November 4, 2014.

North Dakota is one of 14 states that uses an open primary system, in which registered voters do not have to be members of a party to vote in that party's primary.[1][2][3]

Office Incumbent Assumed Office Incumbent running?
Commissioner of Agriculture Doug Goehring
Doug Goehring.jpg
2009 Running
Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger
Ryan Rauschenberger.jpg
2014 Running
Public Services Commissioner Brian Kalk
Brian Kalk.jpg
2009 Running
Public Services Commissioner Julie Fedorchak
Julie Fedorchak.jpg
2013 Running

Key deadlines

Deadline Event
April 7 Primary filing deadline[4]
June 10 Primary election
September 2 General election filing deadline for independent candidates
November 4 General election

Agriculture Commissioner

Current incumbent

Republican Party Doug Goehring - running




Agriculture is one of North Dakota's leading industries, and the commissioner is responsible for ensuring the safety of people, animals, and plants across the state. The primary duties of the office are:

  • protect livestock and other domestic animals from disease
  • inspect farms and processing plants
  • regulate pesticide production, use and disposal
  • provide mediation services to farmers
  • certify the state's commodities
  • work with local jurisdictions on crop control[8]

Race background

The North Dakota Commissioner of Agriculture is one of the three officeholders that sit on the state's Industrial Commission. This commission, among many duties, regulates North Dakota's oil and gas industry.[9] The race for Agriculture Commissioner has taken on a heightened profile due to the recent rush to extract oil and gas from the Bakken shale and the candidates have disagreed over how they will regulate this natural resource boom.

The incumbent, Republican Doug Goehring, has expressed support for an accelerated rate of oil extraction, opposing legislation that might slow down the growth of drilling.[10] In a speech at the state Republican convention he implied support for a balanced approach, saying that "the ties between agriculture and energy have never been more important that they are today," but the North Dakota Farm Bureau endorsed his primary challenger, Judy Estenson.[11] Estenson, who was running to reform the Agriculture Commissioner's office following allegations of mismanagement and harassment, lost the state GOP endorsement and dropped out of the race.[11][12]

Meanwhile, the Democratic challenger, Ryan Taylor, has expressed concern about the consequences of the oil rush. He has said, "You can’t unleash all that oil and then wonder why the train tracks are full of oil tankers and you can’t get grain on from the elevators in North Dakota and get that product to market."[13] Taylor has advocated for greater weight on agricultural considerations; he was described as "the man who’s going to bring balance to the Industrial Commission."[13]

Tax Commissioner

Current incumbent

Republican Party Ryan Rauschenberger - running



The main responsibility of the tax commissioner is to collect tax revenue that is required by North Dakota law through the administration of said laws. The specific powers and duties of the commissioner are outlined in Chapter57-01-02 of the North Dakota Century Code.

Public Services Commissioner

There are two PSC elections in North Dakota in November 2014. The one is the regular election and the other is a special election for the remainder of an unexpired term.

Regular election candidates

Special election candidates


The commission is responsible for regulating public utilities. The board is granted jurisdiction over railroads, telecommunications companies, pipelines, electric, and heating companies; grain elevators and warehouses; weights and measures; public auctioneers and auction clerks; the siting of energy plants and transmission facilities; reclamation of mined lands; and all other public utilities working within the state.[16] The specific duties of the commissioners are outlined in Chapter49-01 of the North Dakota Century Code:

The commission does NOT have jurisdiction over:

  • rural electric cooperatives
  • most small telephone companies
  • cable television

See also

Additional Reading


  1. National Conference of State Legislatures Website, "State Primary Election Types," accessed January 6, 2014
  2. Fair Vote, "Congressional and Presidential Primaries: Open, Closed, Semi-Closed, and 'Top Two,'" accessed January 6, 2014
  3. Ballotpedia research conducted December 26, 2013 through January 3, 2014 researching and analyzing various state websites and codes.
  4. North Dakota Secretary of State, "North Dakota Election Calendar," January 2, 2014
  5. Farm and Ranch Guide, "Ryan Taylor outlines ag priorities," March 17, 2014
  6. Judy Estenson for ND Agriculture Commissioner, "Bio," March 17, 2014
  7. Ag Week, "ND ag commissioner Goehring survives GOP endorsement challenge," April 8, 2014
  8. Junto, "North Dakota agriculture commissioner," accessed July 13, 2011
  9. North Dakota Industrial Commission, "About," April 10, 2014
  10. Ag Week, "ND ‘extraordinary places’ policy approved, but comment process will apply only to public land," April 10, 2014
  11. 11.0 11.1 Bismarck Tribune, "N.D. GOP endorses incumbent for ag post," April 10, 2014
  12., "Future of ND oil boom could hinge on ag commission race," April 10, 2014
  13. 13.0 13.1 Taylor for North Dakota, "Jamestown Sun: Taylor calls for balance with oil in bid," April 10, 2014
  14. 14.0 14.1 Bismark Tribune, "Candidates announce for state tax commissioner's race," February 11, 2014
  15. 15.0 15.1 North Dakota Secretary of State, "2014 Primary Election Contest/Candidate List," April 9, 2014
  16. North Dakota Legislation, "Article 69-01: General administration," accessed July 13, 2011