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Rugby to Host Governor Candidate Debate

By Staff | Feb 12, 2016

Gubernatorial candidate Rick Becker

With one candidate yet to commit, organizers have scheduled the first debate to feature the Republican Party’s governor hopefuls, and they have arranged it to take place in Rugby.

Dennis Fred, District 14 Republican chairman in Rugby, said Bismarck legislator Dr. Rick Becker and Fargo businessman Doug Burgum have confirmed they will be participating. Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem has been contacted but has not yet responded.

The debate is set for March 5 at 7 p.m. in the Rugby High School Auditorium. The date falls just ahead of a March 9 debate scheduled by the N.D. Republican Party in Bismarck.

“I am actually putting it together out of a request from a lot of people who wanted to see a debate because nobody knew enough about these candidates, and they wanted to hear from them themselves,” Fred said.

A committee has formed to solicit potential questions for the candidates from community members. A list of questions will be developed and submitted to the candidates for preparation for the debate.

Gubernatorial candidate Doug Burgum

The event has drawn interest from television stations and is expected to be broadcast live. Organizers also have been obtaining support from groups that wish to assist in sponsoring the event.

Rugby School Supt. Mike McNeff has agreed to serve as master of ceremonies. Moderators have not yet been named.

The event will be open to the public. The theater-style auditorium has capacity for more than 300 attendees.

The Republican Party will endorse a candidate for governor at its state convention in Fargo in April. Democrats do not have an announced candidate at this time. Fred said organizers would consider opening the debate to include Democrat contenders if any enter the race in coming weeks.

Schramm is a staff writer for the Minot Daily News, Minot.

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