Who Will Governor Dalrymple Appoint To The Public Service Commission?

Blair Thoreson

Believe it or not, there are still more changes to come for the Public Service Commission.

It’s a little complicated, but here’s what has happened. Brian Kalk was elected to the PSC in 2008 and will be up for re-election next cycle, in 2014. Commissioner Tony Clark left the PSC in June of this year to serve on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). He had already announced that he was stepping down from the PSC after his term was up this year, and Randy Christmann was elected on Tuesday to take over that seat next year.

But also elected on Tuesday was Commissioner Kevin Cramer, who in January will take over North Dakota’s House seat currently filled by Rep. Rick Berg.

Cramer has already announced that he’ll be stepping down from the PSC in late December. Cramer was last re-elected to the PSC in 2010, and his term won’t be up until 2016. When Cramer steps down, it will be up to Dalrymple to pick a successor to finish the four years of that term.

So who does Dalrymple pick? I don’t know, but this humble observer would like to see Fargo-area Rep. Blair Thoreson take over that seat. Thoreson challenged Christmann in what was a gentlemanly convention nomination battle. Christmann won, and Thoreson stepped aside, but both were equally qualified candidates.

Now that Christmann has been elected, why not give someone who has already prepared to do the job a shot too?

Thoreson would be the right choice.

Update: A correction, state law would require that anyone appointed to Cramer’s term have their appointment confirmed in the next general election. So whoever gets appointed would have to be on the ballot in 2014 and then again in 2016.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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  • NDSiouxFan

    Thoreson would be a great choice. I am just happy that there is no chance that Crabtree will get the job.

    • Roy_Bean

      How about Mike Quinn? I bet we could turn it into a reality show. We could probably run the whole state off the royalties.

      • Elizabeth K

        PSC Cage Match 2013

  • Mike Quinn

    Christmann will be the worst lickspittle for special interest ever in the history of North Dakota. Christmann is for Christmann. Randy has already shown his total lack of ethics by taking money from special interest. We can expect this pattern to continue and his record will clearly show how money talks and the special interest need only put a price on what they want. This is a man who has never held a real job, a man who has made a political career refusing to debate anyone. If any one person was a symbol of what is wrong with North Dakota, it is Randy Christmann. Christmann’s career has been based on cheating, refusing to debate, and doing what ever is most expedient at the moment. Christmann has always played on the NRA fears, the abortion nonsense, and the Fox myths. Christmann’s election proved for minor offices the people of North Dakota don’t pay attention, they just vote the party line. The voters rejected a well qualified man for this pathetic political hack. When Randy Christmann ran for the Board of West River Telecommunications he ran the most dishonest unethical campaign possible. Management of WRT said they would stay out of the election, but CEO Mick Grosz lied and sent his own wife out to work on Christmann’s behalf. Grosz instructed the board member in Mobridge to go out and have my proxies invalidated by the businesses I had solicited them from. How people so openly elect such a well know scoundrel is amazing, but that is your typical Republican in North Dakota. Anyone interested in the details of exactly how Randy Christmann, and ex Republican legisltator Mick Grosz, and Jeff Delzer maniputlated the election please feel free to call me 701-748-6111

    • Captornado

      …”How people so openly elect such a well know scoundrel is amazing,”
      My thoughts exactly concerning Heidi Heitkamp.

    • Waski_the_Squirrel

      So Christmann will be worst “ever in the history in North Dakota”? Really? There has never ever been anyone worse? Gosh, historic times!

      (Sarcasm does not translate well to the written word.)

  • DelawareBeachHouse

    Blair would be a great appointment.

  • kevindf

    “This is a man who has never held a real job” Like Pomeroy and Conrad; you voted for them, didn’t you?

    • Rick Olson

      Not true, oh diminutive one. Blair Thoreson is gainfully employed in the private sector. State legislators in North Dakota are most definitely not full-time, career positions. They are barely part-time. Blair was employed by US West Communications, which became Qwest Communications and now Century Link for much of his career outside of college. He went on to work for the PRACS Institute for a while. He’s now involved with abstracting and land title searches, particularly out in oil country. He’s also a part owner of the Three Lyons Pub out in West Fargo.

    • Mike Quinn

      Please tell me what real job Randy Christmann ever had. He has made a living as a political hack his entire life. He briefly sold used cars, and drove a gravel truck for the county. Otherwise he shoveled shit on his fathers farm. Which in his book makes him a rancher. Please, please tell me if he ever had a real job.

      • Captornado

        Driving truck and selling cars is such a shameful way to make a living. It’s not honorable or prestigious as being something like, a safety consultant or municipal judge. Just saying.

        • Mike Quinn

          Just saying, I paid my way through two years of graduate school, and four years of college, and managed to retire at 50. My daddy did not give me a ranch or a job. What I have I earned honestly. I put two kids through excellent schools and made my own living. It is shameful to portray yourself as a rancher, when in reality you shovel shit on your dad’s ranch until he gives it to you. Do you see the difference?

      • Tim Heise

        Define real job?

        • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

          Christmann has been a rancher for years. Sure sounds like a real job to me.

          • Mike Quinn

            Call anyone in Hazen, and they will tell you what kind of rancher Christmann is. First you need a ranch. If your dad has a ranch and you help your dad run his ranch, that makes you a farmhand. I know finding truth is not one of your strong points. Just call anyone and ask.

        • Mike Quinn

          Real job. You fill out an application and are chosen by your ability. When Randy’s dad asked him to help on the farm, there was no application. Real Job, you invest your money, your time you make money. Randy never did that. Real job means someone who has an income producing business hires you and pays you because of your ability. Never happened to Randy except driving a gravel truck and selling used cars. Real job. You make enough money to support your family and live in your own house. Real job, you pay for insurance. No one yet has show Christmann to ever have had an once of real job success. Randy has been successful political hack doing the dirty work for the Republican Party. That is like a mafia job, not an honest living.

          • kevindf

            That’s a quaint notion. This is the age of Obama, where everyone’s job is now cashing a government check like Pomeroy and Conrad have done most of their lives.

  • Mike Peterson

    I’m absolutely a fan of Blair Thorenson. He has the right ideas and think he’d make a good PSC. I would be sad however, to lose that kind of voice in the House. The republican machine likes him too, which never worked out for me in my first run.

  • Rick Olson

    Blair would be a good pick. However, he is perfectly happy with representing his district in the Legislature (44th District in north Fargo). If Governor Dalrymple were to appoint Blair, I assume he would time the appointment to where it would take effect after the 2013 legislative session adjourns. I’ve known Blair Thoreson since high school and he indeed is one of the good people in politics these days. Of course, in the event of a mid-term vacancy in the Legislature, the law was changed a few years ago and instead of there having to be a special election called by the governor; the seat may be filled by the departing lawmaker’s local party organization.

    • Ripple

      I’m sure he’s perfectly happy, but he did run for the position (I voted for him at the convention), so I would have to think he would be interested.

      • Rick Olson

        I didn’t say he wouldn’t accept the seat on the PSC if Governor Dalrymple were to offer it to him. On the contrary. I’m sure he probably would accept the appointment. However, being that Blair’s just been elected to his fifth term in the state House of Representatives, that makes him a pretty big cheese in the Legislature. In the 2011 session, he was chairman of one of the subcommittees of the Appropriations Committee. He chaired the Government Operations Subdivision. I just have to wonder if he and his wife Jennifer would be willing to uproot their family and move to Bismarck, knowing of the possibility that this could only be a two year stay for them. Cramer’s resigning in mid-term, so Blair would have to run in 2014 for his own four year term.

  • JW -American

    If Blair was to be appointed a very good man in Don Clark, who lost on Tues. in a very very very hard fought battle in D44, would be right there to fill Blair’s spot in the House.

    • NDConservative2011

      Absolutely – Don Clark is a terrific legislator who has a fantastic business background. He is level headed and gets along with everyone. Representative Clark is a man of his word and a very honest person – A GREAT CHOICE to replace Blair if he is indeed appointed.

  • Tim Heise

    My Top 3:
    1. Rep. Blair Thoreson
    2. Rep. Vicky Steiner http://www.legis.nd.gov/assembly/63-2013/house/representatives/bios/vsteiner.html
    3. Myself

    • Rick Olson

      You would be willing to dump law school in order to accept the appointment?

      If I were in Dalrymple’s shoes, my choice would be Blair Thoreson. Indeed, his former district/seat mate in the state House, Don Clark (who lost on Tuesday), would be ready to fill the seat almost immediately if the District 44 GOP were to appoint him.

      As long as we’re on the subject, what do you all think about having a departing lawmaker’s local party organization be the ones to pick a replacement legislator?

      Call me old fashioned, but I think those seats should be filled via a special election in the district so affected. In District 44’s case, it would mean opening two polling locations.

      If my recollection is correct, how it used to work was if there was an opening in the state House of Representatives if a lawmaker died, resigned, was removed from office or whatever; then the governor would issue an executive order to call a special election in that district, depending upon the timing of when the vacancy occurred.

      Again, based upon my recollection, if the vacancy occurred more than 90 days from the date the seat in question was scheduled to be filled in a general election, then a special election would be called, with the winner of that election occupying the seat for the remainder of the unexpired term. The two parties would have until a certain date prior to the special election in order to endorse their respective candidates for the special election.

      If the vacancy happened less than 90 days prior to when the seat was scheduled to be filled in a general election, then no special election would have been necessary. The seat would be filled in the upcoming general election as normal. I believe there was also nothing to prevent any third party or independent candidacies in a special election as well

      In the event of an opening in the state Senate, the governor had the authority to appoint a replacement senator and no special election was needed.

  • jimmypop

    the psc seat needs to be filled sooner rather than later. if its an active political figure like Thoreson, the governor appoint his house replacement, right?

    • OobieDoobie

      In North Dakota, the political party of the person who left the legislature would choose a replacement. It used to be the governor, but that was changed some years ago.

      • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

        That’s right, the gov appoints all vacancies but the legislature.

  • dwightmoses

    Blair is cool but I think Tom Brusegaard would be a good choice. He is a brilliant man with a servants heart.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      Tom is a great guy too. Tough to pick between the two if his name came up.

      • appleseed

        Brusegaard would be a refreshing choice. Mr. Dalrymple are you listening? He’s a former state rep, Dakota historian, and a professional. I hope he gets it.

  • HendricksonforCongress2014

    How long before Paul Sorum is mentioned here?

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      Paul Sorum last all credibility with me when he allowed his ego-driven campaign to lead him to attacking free speech and perfectly legal campaign contributions.

      I’m not taking him seriously any more.

      • HendricksonforCongress2014

        Agreed 100%. It’s hard to respect someone who stands on a stage and endorses someone and then flips. Dalrymple is the same Dalrymple he’s always been. Big spending moderate Democrat. I just figured that Sorum would start pushing for the job.

        • Mike Peterson

          DuWayne Hendrickson? Running for Congress again in 2014?

          • JoelHeitkampisanidiot

            Ha ha, I can’t imagine a race without him.

        • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

          Right, I agree with those criticisms of Dalrymple. Spends too much, etc.

          But to accuse him of bribery is wrong, especially given the implications for political speech it has.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      And judging by the voting outcomes, nobody much is taking him seriously.

  • http://www.facebook.com/daro.crandall Daro Crandall

    Blair gets my vote, known him for 25 years. Rock Solid!

  • Jitter

    Can Thoreson get it from having been in the legislature just prior to the appointment?

  • ctomrun

    Isn’t there a rule that if a legislator voted for a pay raise for the position they are not eligible?

    • OobieDoobie

      No, the voters changed that provision via a ballot measure in the June primary. A legislator could now be appointed.

      • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

        That’s correct, though even if the law were still in place I think he’d be OK as we are heading into a new session and he just got reelected.

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