Legislator enters Senate race

Maragos files as independent in effort to continue representing Minot

Rep. Andrew Maragos spoke Monday with the Minot Daily News editorial staff about his state Senate candidacy.

A long-time Republican state representative says he wants to continue to serve, even if it means running as an independent.

District 3 Rep. Andrew Maragos spoke with the Minot Daily News Monday about his recent petition filing to run against the Republican-endorsed candidate and Democrat-NPL candidate for the District 3 Senate seat. He collected 300 signatures to run.

Maragos said Minot has been good to his family, so it’s been rewarding to go to the Legislature and fight for Minot’s interests, he said.

“I am not ready to quit. I will always fight for Minot,” he said. “I would like to do what I can to move Minot forward and keep it a viable community.”

He added he’s concerned about the trajectory Minot is on with the economic changes in recent years and the flood recovery still occurring. Minot’s needs are going to continue to require legislative attention and the dedicated focus of Minot’s delegation, he said.

“I have always tried to promote those positions that our community leaders have felt were very important,” he said.

Maragos served in the House from 1993 until 2006, when local voters turned out Republicans in Districts 3 and 5. During the years when he was not in the Legislature, he led a campaign for a new State Fair grandstand, working with former colleagues in the Legislature to get funding. He regained his seat in the 2010 election and has served since. He served on the Judiciary and Political Subdivisions committees in last session.

A Minot businessman and Vietnam veteran, Maragos has been active in the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Maragos and running mate Alan Walter mounted an unsuccessful Republican primary challenge last June after delegates at the district convention selected Jeff Hoverson and Bob Paulson as their House candidates. Rep. Roscoe Streyle did not seek re-election, and delegates bypassed Maragos to select the two newcomers.

Because Maragos lost in the primary, he cannot run in the general election Nov. 6 to retain his House seat. Instead, he is running for the Senate seat held by Republican Oley Larsen, who is seeking re-election. Larsen has served in the Senate since 2011.

Larsen said Maragos’ entry into the race won’t change his campaign.

“He’s been a great mentor. I have just enjoyed working with him. We have worked together for eight years. He’s also the one who recruited me into the Legislature and he took me in with open arms and taught me a lot about the process,” Larsen said. “It’s just unfortunate that he didn’t want to listen to the vote count and listen to the people.”

Although he understands Maragos’ desire to serve, he said, he also believes district voters are looking for someone who will vote more closely with the Republican platform on issues such as Common Core in schools and right to life issues.

Maragos said the Republican-endorsed candidates are more socially conservative, but he defended his record. He said he does not take a pro-choice position, but he also believes states should not try to override a federal decision.

“The right to terminate a pregnancy is a national law right now. Until that changes, that’s the law and I am not for states making their own laws. There needs to be a unified application,” he said.

On another social issue, he also had voted for a human rights bill promoted by the LGBTQ community.

“I believe in human rights. I believe in everybody being treated exactly the same,” he said.

As an independent, Maragos said he would align with the Republican caucus should he be elected and the party remain in majority control.

The Democrat candidate for state Senate, Joseph “Joey” Nesdahl, also said Maragos’ candidacy would not affect his campaign. He welcomed another candidate, saying more candidates allow for more voter choice.

Not having solicited financial support for many years, Maragos said he plans to do so this time because of the change in the nature of the contest. He said he has received encouragement from those who know his track record.

“I just feel that people know who I am. They know the things that I involve myself in. I will rely on my record a lot,” he said.