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District 6 leans toward familiar slate

Dick Anderson

District 6’s Republican voters favored the slate of candidates with a legislative track record Tuesday.

Unofficial results showed Rep. Paul Thomas, Velva, with a strong lead over the party’s endorsed candidate Zach Lessing, Lake Metigoshe, for the District 6 Senate seat. In the House race, Rep. Dick Anderson and newcomer Dan Vollmer, both Willow City, were claiming more narrow leads over the endorsed candidates, Pat Bachmeier of Granville and Kolette Kramer of Towner.

The winners will advance to the general election, where opposition is unlikely. No Democratic-NPL candidates have filed for the legislative seats.

“It feels terrific. It was a challenging race,” Thomas said Tuesday night. He said he owes his success to the many people who knocked on doors, gave funds, put up signs and encouraged him along the way.

“My credit and thanks by far and away to them for all that support and help,” he said.

Regarding the decision to challenge the party’s endorsed candidate, Thomas said, “I really didn’t feel, at the time of that endorsement, that was a reflection of the Republican Party in District 6, and I think the election showed that.”

In a geography as large as District 6, the party will need to look for ways to encompass a broader spectrum of voters, he said.

“I don’t know there’s an easy solution to that but I think those conversations need to happen,” he said.

District 6 encompasses all of Renville, Bottineau and McHenry counties, a small portion of Ward County, including Sawyer, and northeastern McLean County.

Anderson said the pro-business stance of the slate with Thomas, Vollmer and himself was an important element.

Dan Vollmer

“If people want to reduce property tax, we have to grow the business in our state,” he said. “I just think it’s good to invest in infrastructure in the state and grow the state.”

Those investments are important to constituents, such as the money spent to support Dakota College at Bottineau, which lies in the district, Anderson said.

Anderson was first elected to the House to represent District 7 in 2010 and in 2012 was elected in District 6. He has farmed and ranched on his family’s farm. Vollmer continues to live and be active on the family farm near Willow City and has been involved in the banking community for 40 years.

Vollmer said he is grateful to voters for electing him as a newcomer.

“What I have been hearing is property tax reform is an important thing – and common sense,” he said. “I am a common sense conservative, and I think that message probably resonated with the public.”

Thomas is a fourth-generation farmer on the family farm in southern McHenry County and has served four years in the state House of Representatives.

Lessig teaches biology part time at Dakota College of Bottineau. He moved to North Dakota, his wife’s home state, from eastern Washington state in 2020.

Bachmeier grew up on the family farm near Granville, where he and his wife also raised their children, and has been employed at Souris River Telecommunications for nearly 28 years, mostly as a wireless technician. Kramer ranches with her husband near Denbigh.

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