- Associated Press - Sunday, March 30, 2014

FARGO, N.D. (AP) - In a story March 29 about the North Dakota Democratic convention, The Associated Press erroneously reported the age of House candidate George B. Sinner based on information supplied by the state Democratic Party. Sinner is 60, not 50.

A corrected version of the story is below:

North Dakota Dems endorse Sinner, state candidates

North Dakota Democrats endorse Sinner, 2 state candidates on last day of political convention


Associated Press

FARGO, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota Democrats who have been reeling from Republican dominance for several years turned to a man with a powerful political name Saturday to cap off their state convention and outline his campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives.

George B. Sinner, a banker and businessman, is the son of former North Dakota governor George A. Sinner, who guided the state three decades ago when the Democrats controlled a majority of state offices and held their own in the Legislature. The GOP currently controls all state offices and a healthy advantage in both chambers.

The younger Sinner, 60, will take on incumbent Republican Kevin Cramer, whom the Democrats describe as too radical for North Dakota. Sinner promoted himself Saturday in Fargo as someone who has been working in the private sector to help “farmers, business owners and everyday folks achieve their dreams and successes,” while Cramer has been a lifelong politician “chasing every government job under the sun.”

Sinner is a senior vice president at a Fargo bank where he specializes in agribusiness and commercial lending. He’s also associated with his family’s agribusiness in his hometown of Casselton, where he grew up in a family with 10 children. He is coming off his first term in the state Senate.

Sinner criticized Cramer for collecting his House salary after voting for the government shutdown in 2013.

“I couldn’t have said it better than Congressman Cramer himself, who said his decision to keep his paycheck after voting to shut down the government is exactly what elections are about,” Sinner said.

Cramer could not be immediately reached for comment Saturday.

The Democrats brought out their former longtime congressional delegation known as “Team North Dakota” and a 69-year-old veteran congressman from Minnesota to help introduce Sinner. Former senators Byron Dorgan and Kent Conrad and former representative Earl Pomeroy, who served together for nearly two decades, and current Minnesota Rep. Collin Peterson painted Sinner as moderate who will do a better job than Cramer at addressing the state’s issues.

Cramer has been “captured by the right wing of the right wing,” Conrad told delegates in nominating SInner.

“Don’t let him be held captive any longer. Free him. Send him home,” Conrad said of Cramer. “Let’s elect George Sinner, a proven leader.”

Peterson, the ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee, said in his keynote speech that Sinner would do a better job than Cramer with farm issues and said House leadership promised him that Sinner would have a seat on the ag group if he is elected. Peterson also lauded Sinner’s ability to work with people on both sides of the aisle.

“What’s happening is that the Republicans are getting more right-wing and the Democrats are getting more left-wing,” Peterson said. “We need more people in the middle who can work this stuff out.”

He added, “The Sinner name is golden in North Dakota because that family has done the work for this state, whether in politics, or agriculture or whatever else they’re doing.”

Democrats on Saturday also endorsed former state legislator April Fairfield for secretary of state and software consultant Todd Reisenauer for a six-year term on the Public Service Commission.

Fairfield, 44, of Bismarck, served in the state Legislature for 10 years before deciding not to run for re-election in 2006. She has worked for several nonprofit groups since then and currently serves as executive director of the Head Injury Association of North Dakota.

Fairfield described herself as a hockey mom who can often be found in the grocery store wearing sweatpants and her hair in a ponytail. Her 93-year-old grandmother lives with Fairfield and her husband, Steve DeLap.

“For all those arm-wringers out there who were working on me, I wasn’t always inclined or champing at the bit to get back into politics or run for a statewide race at this point in my life,” she said. “There’s an old Non-Partisan League saying: The person does not seek the office, the office seeks the person. In some ways I feel this office has been seeking me for a long, long time.”

It’s the first campaign for public office for Reisenauer, 38, who grew up on a ranch near Dickinson and moved to Fargo 20 years ago. He joked about his campaign signs where the “R” in his first name is much larger than the other letters.

“I’ve gotten quite a few comments that I’m trying to trick people or confuse people into thinking certain things,” he said. “My principles are not based around an extremist ideology.”

The North Dakota Republican Party will hold its nominating convention April 4-6 in Minot.


Follow Dave Kolpack on Twitter at https://twitter.com/DaveKolpackAP .

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