- Associated Press - Monday, September 28, 2020

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A North Dakota Republican lawmaker whose residence was challenged by Democrats is eligible for reelection, the state Supreme Court says.

Kenton Onstad, who chairs the District 4 Democratic Party, had filed a lawsuit earlier this month asserting that Terry Jones is a resident of Wyoming, where he owns a farming, ranching and construction business. Jones argued that he owns a home in New Town, pays North Dakota income tax, and has led a congregation at a Mormon church there for years.

In a ruling issued Friday, the high court cited 10 factors that favor Jones, including a state court complaint he filed in 2019 in which he swore under oath that he was a resident of Mountrail County.

“We conclude Jones satisfies the constitutional residency requirement for election to the office of state legislator and it was not error to place his name on the ballot,” the court said in its opinion.

Jones said earlier in an interview that he moved from Otto, Wyoming, a tiny town of 50 people where he was born and raised, to North Dakota in 2011 to start a business supplying water to drillers in western North Dakota’s oil patch.

He added that his sons now run the businesses in Otto.

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