Though died from COVID-19 in October, David Andahl managed to posthumously win the North Dakota’s 8th District House election. Given Andahl’s obvious inability to fulfill the role, the state’s governor announced that he will appoint the president of BNI Energy to the seat.

Thanks to the backing of North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (R) and Sen. Kevin Cramer (R), Andahl had won the June primaries against long-time Rep. Jeff Delzer. The cattle rancher was in charge of Burleigh County’s zoning and planning commission for the past 16 years, half that time being spent as its chair, later teaming up with Dave Nehring to run as co-candidates for the representative race.

After a spike in coronavirus cases, Andahl contracted the disease and was hospitalized on October 5, dying only four days later. His family announced his death on a Facebook post that read, “He has been a public servant for many years and was looking forward to the opportunity to serve in the state legislature. We are sad that his wish will not come to pass.”

Gov. Burgum appointed Wade Boeshans, president of BNI Energy, to fill the seat. But the move has stirred much controversy even within the GOP. Burgum’s gubernatorial race rival, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem called the move “both inaccurate and untimely” in a statement. “The Constitution provides that the Legislative branch, not the Executive branch, has the authority to fill a vacancy in the legislative assembly,” Stenehjem said.


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