BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – North Dakota’s Constitution gives Gov. Doug Burgum the right to appoint someone to a state House seat won by a Republican candidate who died before the election, his lawyer argued Friday as the state Supreme Court waded into what attorneys called an unprecedented case.
There also is not an applicable law that allows the Legislature to fill the seat, said Robert Pathroff, a Bismarck attorney representing the Republican governor.
Lawyers argued during the livestreamed hearing about who has the authority to fill the District 8 seat that was won Nov. 3 by David Andahl even though he died Oct. 5 from coronavirus complications. The House district represents a sprawling rural area north of Bismarck.
A day after the election, Burgum appointed Washburn coal executive Wade Boeshans to the seat. Burgum sued the Legislature, secretary of state, and Democratic and Republican activists to bring the issue to the high court.
North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem